Visa makes internet shopping secure

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BUENOS AIRES -- Credit card company Visa is to launch in Argentina by the end of the year a secure method of payment over the Internet, to allow consumers to buy products from the World Wide Web without fear of having their personal credit information pirated.

The company is developing an intelligent card with an encrypted microchip. Visa claims there are about 50,000 potential Internet shoppers in the Argentine market and an equal number of sales points that have their own Web pages on the Internet.

Just last month, Visa launched in Argentina a form of electronic cash - a card that can be charged time and time again at a bank and used for low value payments. It also introduced a new card, Visa Purchasing, for small and medium-sized companies, designed to simplify regular purchases from suppliers by replacing a large quantity of orders into a monthly payment. The payment, made via the new credit card, will be treated as cash and will avoid the issuing of credit bills. Visa expects 1,000 companies to sign up to the new service in the medium term.

Visa Purchasing was tested in Argentina last February in a pilot with oil company Esso. Research conducted by Visa found that 90% of transactions by most companies are for purchases of less than $5,000 but represent 10% of company overheads. The card will be used for just such low value purchases.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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