Web groups unite to seek electronic payment standard

Two industry groups are uniting to find standard methods for World Wide Web payment negotiation between browsers and servers.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and CommerceNet yesterday announced the formation of the Joint Electronic Payments Initiative (JEPI).

By September, they plan to develop and demonstrate a middleware payment negotiation protocol in both the United States and Europe, officials say. Participating members, which include many of the key Internet players who already offer payment systems, will build the JEPI protocol into their browsers, servers, or payment systems.

Core JEPI members who will contribute money and personnel to the research initiative include IBM, Microsoft, Open Market, CyberCash, VeriFone, the Financial Services Technology Consortium, GC Tech, and the Open Software Foundation, officials say.

Other participants include Bellcore, British Telecom, Citibank, CUC International, Deloitte & Touche Consulting, First Virtual Holdings, France Telecom, Marshall Industries, Netscape Communications, NTT Software Laboratories, Nokia Mobile Phones, Novell, Oracle, Sligos, Tandem, the National Automated Clearing House Association, NetBill, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, Vendamall and Zenith.

The W3C, an industry consortium hosted by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as by INRIA, in France, can be reached at http://www.w3.org.

CommerceNet, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, can be reached at http://www.commerce.net.

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