The Pulse EFT Association has signed a letter of intent to offer SafeDebit, an Internet payments system modelled on the existing ATM infrastructure, to its member financial institutions.
SafeDebit has been developed by NYCE Corporation, the New Jersey-headquartered electronic payments network. The initiative is modeled after and takes advantage of the existing cash machine network to allow consumers to pay for purchases on the Internet with funds withdrawn directly from their current accounts.
Pulse expects to begin offering the service to its members in early 2001.
"Consumers have come to prefer and rely upon the convenience and reliability of using their debit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs and to make purchases using point-of-sale terminals, and now this same option will be available for Internet shoppers," says Stan Paur, Pulse president and CEO.
Paur explains that Web shoppers will see SafeDebit listed as a payment option during the online purchase "check out" process. After clicking on the SafeDebit icon, shoppers will then be prompted to insert a financial institution-issued CD-ROM card into the PC's CD-ROM drive. The card is similar in size and shape to a debit card, and like a debit card, contains encrypted account information. In addition to the card, shoppers will be required to enter an individual electronic personal identification number (e-PIN).
"The process is virtually the same as using a traditional ATM card, and provides customers a new level of security not now available for making purchases over the Internet," he says.