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When commerce goes electronic, the means of paying for goods and services must also go electronic. This module discusses four methods of electronic payment.

This is an adaptation of an excerpt from "Electronic Commerce: The Strategic Perspective" © 2008 by Richard T. Watson, Pierre Berthon, Leyland F. Pitt, and George M. Zinkhan, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License .

Electronic funds transfer

Electronic funds transfer (EFT), introduced in the late 1960s, uses the existing banking structure to support a wide variety of payments. For example, consumers can establish monthly checking account deductions for utility bills, and banks can transfer millions of dollars. EFT is essentially electronic checking. Instead of writing a check and mailing it, the buyer initiates an electronic checking transaction (e.g., using a debit card at a point-of-sale terminal). The transaction is then electronically transmitted to an intermediary (usually the banking system), which transfers the funds from the buyer's account to the seller's account. A banking system has one or more common clearinghouses that facilitate the flow of funds between accounts in different banks.

Electronic checking is fast; transactions are instantaneous. Paper handling costs are substantially reduced. Bad checks are no longer a problem because the seller's account balance is verified at the moment of the transaction. EFT is flexible; it can handle high volumes of consumer and commercial transactions, both locally and internationally. The international payment clearing system, consisting of more than 100 financial institutions, handles more than one trillion dollars per day.

The major shortfall of EFT is that all transactions must pass through the banking system, which is legally required to record every transaction. This lack of privacy can have serious consequences where as cash gives anonymity.

Digital cash

Digital cash is an electronic parallel of notes and coins. Two variants of digital cash are presently available: prepaid cards and smart cards. The phonecard, the most common form of prepaid card, was first issued in 1976 by the forerunner of Telecom Italia. The problem with special-purpose cards, such as phone and photocopy cards, is that people end up with a purse or wallet full of cards. A smart card combines many functions into one card. A smart card can serve as personal identification, credit card, ATM card, telephone credit card, critical medical information record and as cash for small transactions. A smart card, containing memory and a microprocessor, can store as much as 100 times more data than a magnetic-stripe card. The microprocessor can be programmed.

The stored-value card, the most common application of smart card technology, can be used to purchase a wide variety of items (e.g,. fast food, parking, public transport tickets). Consumers buy cards of standard denominations (e.g., USD 50 or USD 100) from a card dispenser or bank. When the card is used to pay for an item, it must be inserted in a reader. Then, the amount of the transaction is transferred to the reader, and the value of the card is reduced by the transaction amount.

The problem with digital cash, like real cash, is that you can lose it or it can be stolen. It is not as secure as the other alternatives, but most people are likely to carry only small amounts of digital cash and thus

security is not so critical. As smart cards are likely to have a unique serial number, consumers can limit their loss by reporting a stolen or misplaced smart card to invalidate its use. Adding a PIN number to a smart card can raise its security level.

Twenty million smart cards are already in use in France, where they were introduced a decade earlier. In Austria, 2.5 million consumers carry a card that has an ATM magnetic stripe as well as a smart card chip. Storedvalue cards are likely to be in widespread use in the United States within five years. Their wide-scale adoption could provide substantial benefits. Counting, moving, storing and safeguarding cash is estimated to be 4 percent of the value of all transactions. There are also significant benefits to be gained because banks don't have to hold as much cash on hand, and thus have more money available for investment.

Ecash

Digicash of Amsterdam has developed an electronic payment system called ecash that can be used to withdraw and deposit electronic cash over the Internet. The system is designed to provide secure payment between computers using e-mail or the Internet. Ecash can be used for everyday Internet transactions, such as buying software, receiving money from parents, or paying for a pizza to be delivered. At the same time, ecash provides the privacy of cash because the payer can remain anonymous.

To use ecash, you need a digital bank account and ecash client software. The client is used to withdraw ecash from your bank account, and store it on your personal computer. You can then spend the money at any location accepting ecash or send money to someone who has an ecash account.

The security system is based on public-key cryptography and passwords. You need a password to access your account and electronic transactions are encrypted.

Credit card

Credit cards are a safe, secure, and widely used remote payment system. Millions of people use them every day for ordering goods by phone. Furthermore, people think nothing of handing over their card to a restaurant server, who could easily find time to write down the card's details. In the case of fraud in the U.S., banks already protect consumers, who are typically liable for only the first USD 50. So, why worry about sending your credit card number over the Internet? The development of secure servers and clients has made transmitting credit card numbers extremely safe. The major shortcoming of credit cards is that they do not support person-to-person transfers and do not have the privacy of cash.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
NANO
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to electronic commerce. OpenStax CNX. Mar 26, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11773/1.1
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