Microsoft Launches Passport E-Wallet Service
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Aiming to capture the estimated 28 percent of e-shoppers who abandon shopping carts before checkout, Microsoft Corp. Monday unveiled Passport, its version of the electronic wallet, which enables online consumers to store encrypted billing and shipping information at Passport-enabled merchant sites.
According to Microsoft (MSFT), a contributing factor in uncompleted interactive purchases is the repetitive and cumbersome process of typing account information across several different merchant sites.
First introduced on Microsoft sites, such as MSN.com, Monday's launch is geared to both consumers and merchants online. Consumers can sign up for Passport for free. The company said there are currently more than 40 million consumers now using the Passport service.
Companies are required to complete a free registration process before downloading Passport documentation. More merchant information is available here.
In addition, Microsoft is requiring merchants to follow strict privacy policies and local privacy laws by posting privacy statements on their sites and for U.S.-based e-tailers Microsoft is "strongly encouraging" that they register with privacy-assurance organizations such as TRUSTe and BBBOnLine.
Merchants can incorporate a link to their purchase pages which point to the Passport wallet Web server, where the customer selects information such as credit card number and shipping address, which is then returned to the merchant. The merchant can then retrieve the wallet profile information from HTML form fields, which is posted as a form over a secure connection. Merchants then use ASP/CGI to retrieve the information posted to their site from the wallet server. The form field names in the post are also compliant with the ECML or Electronic Commerce Modeling Language standard.
Microsoft said the benefits Passport provide include:
- Increased customer acquisition and retention
- Easy implementation
- Extensive customization
- Increased consumer trust