Clear opens Payment Gateway

Clear Communications has launched its Web-based Payment Gateway, a real-time credit card verification service aimed not at Internet traders but call centres.

Clear Communications has launched its Payment Gateway service on the Internet.

Payment Gateway is a real-time credit card verification tool that gives customers a Web-based interface to the Eft-Pos network.

It differs from existing real-time services, Advantage-BNZ's Buyline and the ASB's Access Online, in that it is not primarily aimed at online purchases. Customers do not need to have a Website hosted with the service provider in order to take advantage of it.

Clear says the service is designed primarily for call centres, allowing over-the-phone credit card purchases to be cleared online within as little as three seconds, with "payment secured immediately".

Payment Gateway product marketing manager Richard Hardy says that, with more than 500 cell centres in New Zealand, Clear expects strong demand for Payment Gateway. He expects 35 major companies to be using the service online by the end of the year.

Hardy says Payment Gateway will introduce customers to ways that they can use IP technologies to enhance their business processes and reduce costs.

"It will give businesses a first step towards fully integrating the Internet and e-commerce into their business practices," he says.

"One of the major benefits of Payment Gateway is that it can readily be incorporated into the call centre's operating environment, providing exponential efficiencies very cost-effectively and without disruption."

All a call centre representative needs to do is enter customers' credit card details and the Payment Gateway, which is linked directly to the banking network, will confirm or decline the transaction.

"This process, until now, has not taken place in real time, resulting in a degree of uncertainty and risk for both the call centre and for customers purchasing good and services over the phone," says Hardy.

The application also includes a real-time reporting tool. Customers require only a 4.0 browser to access the secure server on which it is hosted.

Charges are based on the number of transactions passing through the call centre and Clear says typical prices will range from $50 to $1500 per month.

Clear says future versions of Payment Gateway will incorporate standard e-commerce and interactive voice response, available to a broad range of businesses and accessible from the public Internet. Version two of Payment Gateway is due later this year.