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Web credit payments launched

The first service that allows online retailers to access both Visa and MasterCard's payment authentication programmes, which...

The first service that allows online retailers to access both Visa and MasterCard's payment authentication programmes, which shift liability away from the merchant, was launched this week.

The Payer Authentication Service, from electronic payments provider CyberSource, received a cautious welcome by users, who warned that there is still a long way to go before the Verified by Visa and SecureCode services reach critical mass.

Jeff King, director of product management at CyberSource, said the service would make it easier for online retailers to rapidly implement and maintain a secure payment capability.

"Our goal was to make merchant adoption of these valuable programmes as easy and effective as possible," he said."All it takes is a connection to our datacentres. There is no software to install and, as system specifications change or new services are introduced by other card brands, we manage the changes. The merchant's systems are not impacted."

James Roper, chief executive of UK online retailers body the Interactive Media in Retail Group, said the service should make implementing the Visa and MasterCard programmes easier. "This will probably be the only way that the vast majority of online retailers will be able to implement these systems," he said.

To date, no UK retailer has signed up for the services, according to Roper, and he questioned Visa and MasterCard's commitment to the initiatives. "If Visa was serious about this it would be making a big marketing push," he said. "The early signs are not encouraging."

Visa insisted it was fully committed to the Verified by Visa service. "The initial effort was with the acquirers, but we are now targeting all the key retailers," said Sandra Alzetta, senior vice-president for Virtual Visa.

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