Brick-and-mortars get Web credit card authorization

Electronic payment services provider Concord EFS Inc. this week unveiled a service enabling brick-and-mortar stores to authorize credit card payments via any secure Internet connection in place of dial-up or leased lines.

The point of sale payment offering, introduced at the InfoWorld Next-Generation Web Services conference here, extends Concord's EFSnet gateway Web service to traditional stores. The service has been available for Internet merchants since July 2001.

Concord's gateway acts as a translator between Internet language and payment processing language to help dissimilar systems communicate, according to Concord, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee. The gateway is linked to Concord's payment processor.

EFSnet is based on Web services standards and protocols, including XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). Stores deploying the service can utilize any Internet connection such as a DSL (digital subscriber line), cable, or leased line connection and avoid the six-to-eight-second delay associated with dial-up connections when processing payments, according to Concord.

"It takes away the entire complexity of payments," said Roy Bricker, vice president of strategic alliances for Web payment services at Concord, in Tempe, Arizona.

"All you need is an Internet connection and you're done," Bricker said.

Concord EFSnet was developed partially through Microsoft's .Net services, and developers can build interfaces to EFSnet through Microsoft Visual Studio.Net tools.

Stores still need a front-end payment device but would use Concord EFSnet instead of a dial-up connection to authorize payments. Stores can use other vendors' payment settlement services in conjunction with Concord EFSnet.

Concord EFSnet costs an initial setup fee of about US$200, plus an annual fee of roughly the same price. Transactions processed through the gateway costs a few cents each.

Concord later this year plans to extend EFSnet to business-to-business transactions via an offering based on Purchase Card Level 3 services to process purchase orders and payments.

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