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Royal Bank signs up to Visa e-payment service

Daniel Thomas
Online retailers that use the Royal Bank of Scotland's payment processing service will no longer be liable for disputed e-commerce payments, after the bank signed up to Visa's online payment authentication service.

Streamline Merchant Services this week announced that it will offer the Verified by Visa service, which uses a password-based system to authenticate the cardholder's identity, to its 100,000 customers.

The move comes two months after Barclaycard Merchant Services, which has 83,000 customers, signed up to the service. Visa has estimated the facility could save UK retailers up to £55m a year by reducing the number of disputed transactions by as much as 80%.

Tony Surridge, director of retailer card services at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said, "We are pleased to be among the first banks in the world to support this means of online authentication, a method for retailers to protect themselves against disputed transactions."

Both Visa and MasterCard have launched payment authentication services this year but, to date, take-up has been slow, with few retailers getting on board.

The Barclaycard and Streamline deals, together with last week's announcement by payment processing firm WorldPay that it will use Ucaf, MasterCard's authentication service, have been welcomed by retailers as a step in the right direction.

However, Visa and MasterCard need to ensure their payment services are interoperable so that online retailers are spared the hefty IT costs that linking them would entail, retail industry experts have warned.

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