BTopenworld, the mass-market Internet portal operated by UK telecoms company BT, is to provide customers with an electronic wallet featuring a pre-pay micropayment option from California's iPIN.
As well as a secure place to store credit and debit card details, iPIN is customizing the BTopenworld eWallet to feature a wide choice of payment options enabling customers to buy both physical (books, CDs, phones) and digital (downloadable music, value added information) goods in an integrated way.
BT says the service will also be the first to integrate an optional pre-paid element, allowing customers to add funds into their personal eWallets. This function makes it possible for BTopenworld and its e-commerce partners to offer low priced digital goods - such as games and music - that it has not been possible to market so far.
Customers will be able to add funds into this pre-paid part of the eWallet using debit cards and also by paying in cash using the UK PayPoint network located in neighbourhood convenience stores. BT says the PayPoint option will open the service to customers without access to credit cards but who still want to enter into e-commerce activities.
The eWallet will also feature a loyalty programme, allowing customers to build up reward points that will be redeemable on the BTopenworld portals.
Tony Harris, senior vice president of advertising and e-commerce for BTopenworld, says: "The BTopenworld eWallet could be to Internet shopping what pre-pay has been to mobile phones. As BTopenworld introduces true personalisation, it will also allow payments to be made from any Internet-ready appliance, including PCs, WAP mobile phones and PDAs."
The move into payments provision is understood to be the first in a raft of financial services offerings planned by BTopenworld, which is developing plans to roll out account aggregation technology for its 2.1 million equity ISP customers.