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The Web cheers TheMerchant

The Web cheers TheMerchant

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A new electronic-commerce payment processing solution is set to lower online selling cost barriers for small-to-medium businesses, making the transition from brick-and-mortar to online retail more viable.

The `SMB-friendly' solution, which should allow Australian businesses with online trade facilities to process online payments in real time and free of transaction fees, is the result of a partnership between Sydney domain name registration and Web-hosting services company NetRegistry, the National Australia Bank (NAB) and payment gateway technology provider Quest Software.

`This is a true end-to-end e-commerce solution that represents a paradigm shift from solutions that do only online ordering to solutions that allow merchants to `speak' directly to the bank and process payments six seconds after a visitor has placed a credit card order,' Larry Bloch, NetRegistry's CEO, explained.

Created by NetRegistry, TheMerchant, as the solution is called, was built when the company developed a business model that required an online processing facility, but couldn't find a suitable application on the local market.

`Australia is number two in the world when it comes to building secure Web sites, but for some reason we are lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of online payment processing,' Bloch said.

`Until now, existing e-commerce solutions were expensive, complicated and difficult to set up, but TheMerchant will change that.'

In order to take advantage of the service, businesses will have to pay a $350 set-up fee, followed by a $50 service charge per month. However, customers will not have to pay any bank or transaction fees.

Bloch expects TheMerchant model to increase Australia's e-commerce presence around the globe. `Only around 1000 Australian Web sites currently have back-end processing capabilities and we expect to sign and fully payment process-enable anywhere between 5000 and 10,000 new merchants within the next 12 months,' he said.

To achieve a connection to the banking network, NetRegistry will provide its customers with a simple HTML form enabling them to activate the service without having to delve into a complicated coding process.

The Unix-based application, which was built for a 256-bit virtual private network (VPN) using Perl CGI-script and a Perl-based shopping cart, will first be offered only in partnership with the NAB, but could see NetRegistry forge more partnerships when the application's functionality is extended later this year. http://www.netregistry.com


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