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Credit/Debit Cards

BLUE CREDIT CARD (c) Tiero | Dreamstime.comCredit and Debit cards are currently the most popular method of online payment - and also the one that can give the e-business a headache!

A simple E-Commerce site could simply include a form on its web site that customers can fill in which would capture the customer's credit or debit card number as well as their order details. This 'order' is then e-mailed to the organisation's server/ordering department. E-mails are then checked regularly for incoming orders.

A full E-Commerce web site processes orders completely online - whereby the card is verified and the funds are transferred automatically. Major credit card companies use the Secure Electronic Transfer (SET) security system as a method to secure online transactions. defines SET as:

"A new standard that enables secure credit card transactions on the Internet. SET has been endorsed by virtually all the major players in the electronic commerce arena, including Microsoft, Netscape, Visa, and Mastercard.

By employing digital signatures (A digital code that can be attached to an electronically transmitted message that uniquely identifies the sender), SET will enable merchants to verify that buyers are who they claim to be. And it will protect buyers by providing a mechanism for their credit card number to be transferred directly to the credit card issuer for verification and billing without the merchant being able to see the number."

An e-business must also consider whether it expects to have an international client base as the credit/debit card system chosen must then be able to support multiple currencies.

All the current Internet browsers have built-in encryption to help make the process more secure for the customer. Both Netscape's Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer allow any user to e-mail sensitive information such as credit card details, over the Internet.

Two good examples of payment solutions are NetBanx and WorldPay.

Next: NetBanx