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SafeTPay... Might be Just Right for the Internet


While pundits ponder dot-com free-falls and predict next year’s online activity, it is clear to the rest of us that Internet instant access has changed the world–the Internet is here to stay.

Though “buying eyeballs” have vaporized hundreds of millions of dollars on half-baked business concepts, many wonderful payments opportunities continue to appear on the Internet horizon. To everyone’s benefit, the Internet has flung wide open the doors of many previously closed countries–doors that will never close again. Thus the Internet’s global impact is just beginning to be realized (currently we are too focused on the failures), and the sales opportunities are just beginning to dawn.

Thanks to the Internet, we now have a common, global postal system, through which we can all send mail. We now have a common global shopping center, through which we can buy and sell. We now have a common global library, where we can all conduct research, and we now have common global university where we can all take classes.

The most powerful nations, of course, have led the way. By the end of 2000, more than half of the adult U.S. population–100 million people–will be online. It is increasingly common in America to run into people who have bought not just a book online, but also a new home, a new computer and a car.

Yet the Third World is not far behind. Look at India. In the impoverished regions around Delhi, an Indian start-up cellular phone company, called the Usha Group, employs women who go house-to-house  in the poorest villages, carrying cellular phones to people who don’t have a phone in their homes. For a small fee, villagers can use the phones for a few minutes to make their calls. Now Usha is installing public call centers in many of these villages, with inexpensive Internet access.

As the Internet changes our daily lives, it should go without saying that new payments systems that arise to support the inevitable, global growth in e-commerce must, in their early stages, mirror our existing and preferred physical payment systems. Throughout history, we have had only two ways to pay, money we have or money we borrow. At least in the U.S., the money we have has always exceeded the transactions of money we borrow (which is a good thing for consumer debt load) and it has been expressed through the use of cash, checks and more recently debit cards. Debit is still trying to find its place in this market. The challenge for credit cards and their stake in Internet payments will be for Visa, MasterCard and even American Express to figure out how to control fraud and reduce the cost of transactions for the e-tailer. That means they will either need to improve their fraud detection systems or exchange reliance on a physical card in favor of some flavor of biometry.

The huge opportunity beyond “credit” is still paying with money you have, and in other countries, just like in the U.S., this continues to be the preferred method of payment. However, while ACH and e-check products are taking their place on the Internet, no one has yet found a way to get the consumer to “write” his or her signature on an ACH or Internet check payment or, for that matter, even to do so on a debit transaction in the form of a PIN. While ACH and electronic check payments grow on the Internet, debit is still looking to find its place in this market, and a company called SafeTPay has offered some interesting ideas.

SafeTPay ( provides secure domestic and international e-commerce transactions. Using a PIN pad that easily attaches to a PC, SafeTPay securely encrypts transaction data per banking industry standards. The device is called a PIN pad because it allows the consumer to swipe their ATM/debit card, and then safely enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN), just as they would at an ATM machine to get cash, or at a supermarket to buy groceries. If they use their credit card, they still swipe the card, but there is no PIN entry (although banks may change that in the future) and the data is still fully encrypted.

“Allowing ATM cards to make purchases in ‘brick-and-mortar’ merchants is a key way that banks and regional networks offer added value to consumers. Our system makes it possible to offer that same functionality for Internet transactions, without requiring issuing banks to invest in infrastructure changes or issue new cards or other access devices,” stated Harry Hargens, President of SafeTPay. “It is becoming more and more apparent that e-companies and consumers are demanding more secure Internet payment methods. The ATM-Card industry is uniquely positioned to pursue this market opportunity.”

“Not only does our service allow consumers to purchase goods and pay bills over the Internet using their existing ATM-card with PIN (Personal Identification Number) but it also makes credit card transactions more secure. This benefits consumers, merchants, and issuing banks.”

SafeTPay offers the following benefits to e-merchants  and e-consumers:

•  Uses a patent-pending system to provide greatly enhanced security through extra layers of encryption to protect card data on the Internet, and makes it possible for consumers and merchants to do business without revealing card data to merchants;

•  Offers merchants a lower-cost transaction, with less risk of fraud or chargebacks.

•  Offers e-customers more flexibility by allowing purchase with either ATM cards or traditional credit cards.

•  Benefits consumers, merchants and issuing banks by allowing users to both purchase goods and pay bills with existing ATM cards while also making credit cards more secure.

•  Supports traditional key-entered transactions from consumers that are not yet SafeTPay-enabled.

•  Thus, once installed on merchant sites it provides a “total solution” for purchases and payments over the Internet.

The challenges we all face in applying new, virtual solutions to old problems make us realize how similar, and at the same time, how different tomorrow’s payment systems will be to those we already know. Innovation replaces tradition. The task of the future is to replace the past. Nothing matters so much as what will come next, and what comes next can arrive only if what is here now gets overturned. Such ongoing change will make our future one terrific, global, virtual adventure. The biggest challenge will be for those who treasure stability and security, and prefer them to any amount of uncertainty. Change affects some more than others, how does it affect you?

Launched in 1999, SafeTPay’s mission is to provide a new, secure way for people to make payments over the Internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. SafeTPay maintains its corporate offices in Hampton, Georgia (just south of Atlanta). Earlier this year SafeTPay opened a European office in Oslo, Norway.

For more information visit or contact Gerry Gay, VP of Sales & Marketing, at or (201) 447-9190.

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