AT&T Pins E-commerce Hopes With Qpass

AT&T Corp. went shopping for a secure,
multi-platform commerce solution and found a bargain with Qpass.

Qpass’ ability to provide one-click secure shopping for AT&T’s PocketNet and
WorldNet customers sold the company on an
idea that’s already caught the fancy of companies and organizations like
the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the
National Hockey League.

With the Qpass-powered eWallet, online shoppers fill out a one-time form
with credit card and personal information. When they make a purchase with
one of AT&T’s participating merchants, the relevant information is sent
from Qpass’ secure server to the merchant and grabs the receipt for
verification.

The stakes are huge in an international e-commerce industry that will see a
staggering $1.6 trillion in online purchases in 2003, according to a report
by the IDC. In its report, The
Global Market Forecast For Internet Usage and Commerce
, IDC states
29 percent of Internet users shop online, a number that will grow to 38
percent by 2003.

David Emberley, IDC research analyst, said online shopping will pick up
steam, moving away from the U.S. and into foreign waters.

“This increased likelihood to buy will be driven by greater availability of
products, improved buyer confidence in security, and enhanced local
language sites for international buyers,” Emberley said. “The U.S.
currently dominates ecommerce, but this will be the last year it accounts
for the majority of Web spending as the number of international buyers
increases and international business-to-business Web transactions become
more commonplace.”

The U.S., which currently makes up 62 percent of the world online market,
will drop to 48 percent in 2003, the report states. Which means U.S.
companies will need convenient, safe and reliable products to attract and
keep customers to cash in on the expected windfall.

Thomas Trinneer, AT&T Wireless Services vice president of data product
development, believes his company has found that product, which works
regardless of platform, bridging a gap in wireless and wired commerce for
AT&T subscribers.

“Engaging in mobile commerce via wireless devices must be simple, fast and
secure, and Qpass makes that possible,” Trinneer said. “With its secure
and convenient transaction and purchasing capabilities, the Qpass powered
AT&T eWallet streamlines not only the mobile purchasing experience but
enables us to add commerce, promotions and discounts to the range of
services we can offer all AT&T Digital PocketNet and AT&T WorldNet users.”

AT&T’s Internet arm isn’t going into the deal blind, however. It likely
went with Qpass after getting the nod from AT&T Wireless ,
which has been using the online solution for its eMinutes prepaid wireless
phone payment service since the end of June

Online commerce has taken a beating this year, with customer support and
security problems plaguing the industry. Earlier this year several
malicious hackers, called crackers, broke into popular commerce sites and
publicized hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers and personal
customer information.

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