RealTime IT News

Putting More 'E' in B2B E-Commerce

San Francisco-based Visa U.S.A. is launching what it calls the "next generation" of B2B payment services - Visa Commerce, a cardless electronic payment and information management program.

The service is aimed at letting businesses reduce their use of expensive paper checks and would apparently compete with companies such as CheckFree Corp. and others, as well as rival MasterCard's e-business offerings.

"Visa Commerce is the `missing link' that adds electronic payment and information management to the procurement process," said Rob Stansfield, executive vice president of commercial solutions at Visa U.S.A.

Visa Commerce allows the buyer to determine when to initiate electronic payment, to defer settlement of the payment based on pre-established terms with suppliers and to transact the type of B2B payments needed in any amounts up to $10 million per transaction.

Visa said the new product will help companies realize their investment in e-procurement systems, while also providing greater payment efficiency to companies with non-electronic procurement systems by reducing the use of paper checks as a form of payment.

Visa Commerce is comprised of three major components -- a member-branded paym ent account, an optional Web-based user interface that simplifies the payment process and a secure technology platform supported by VisaNet.

Visa said its member financial institutions are expected to begin piloting Visa Commerce in the new few months with general release of the service expected for 2003.

Visa is a membership association that is jointly owned by more than 21,000 member financial institutions around the world.