South Australian IT company Camtech has developed and released a product which enables secure and real-time online credit sales.
Secure Online Sales (SOS) is a software and service package allowing merchants to conduct e-commerce using a mechanism that ensures transactions have the validation of a bank or financial institution.
The system consists of Secure Interface Software (SIS) held on both the merchant's Web server and Camtech's SIS server. When a consumer decides to make a purchase at the merchant's Web site, they enter their credit details and press submit. The SIS software on the merchant's Web server takes the information in a 128-bit RSA encryption to the SIS Server, which sends the information to a clearing house, using the ISO 8583 encryption standard (used in EFTPOS transactions), to approve or decline the transaction.
Currently Secure Online Sales goes through one clearing house which has arrangements with all of the major banks and credit card companies.
SOS will comply with the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol expected to be released in fourth quarter or early next year. SET is a collection of standards being developed by Visa and MasterCard in conjunction with a host of software and hardware companies. The protocol uses trusted institutions such as a bank to verify authentication of clients and merchants.
Pricing for SOS starts at $3500 RRP for a bundle of software, installation and payment for 1200 transactions ($1.25 each). The cost per transaction falls according to scale, and can go as low as 75 cents.
Camtech carries out the installation of the software and assists the merchant in establishing a merchant number that is required for conducting e-commerce.
Chief executive officer of Camtech, Bruce Linn, said the system currently has no competition locally and it is not known whether there is a similar type of product on the world market.
Telstra and Microsoft have announced plans to provide similar services later this year, but Linn said SOS differs in that merchants will not have to use Camtech's Internet service. According to Linn, Telstra's service will require the merchant to put its Web site on Telstra's server, while he said the novelty of SOS is that it will be sold and can work through any ISP. ISPs will act as resellers of SOS and Camtech will provide the installation and services.
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