E-commerce start-up signs for Unisys BPO

Start-up online debit payment firm Centricom has signed a four-year outsourcing deal for contact centre, helpdesk, hosting, product testing and transaction processing from Unisys.

Unisys will provide the backbone for the new payment service POLi, (Pay OnLine) an online secured debit system for merchants and an alternative for people who do not use credit cards to purchase goods or services online.

Unisys vice president of global outsourcing and infrastructure services, Mike Ettling, said POLi is not like PayPal or other payment systems and provides an additional level of control and security by not requiring a debit or credit card number over a website.

"POLi is not a third account in the middle between a customer and a vendor on a vendor website," Ettling said.

"When it comes to payment, instead of using a Visa, Diners [Card] or Mastercard people can now use POLi. A consumer starts off at a merchant site, selects POLi, opens up an Internet banking session and the transaction fields are populated once the customer is logged on then the customer instructs their bank to pay the merchant through a 'pay anyone' transaction, hits the submit button and then the consumers' bank deducts money from their account and puts the instruction in under normal EFT rules for a merchant.

"It is a much more secure e-commerce payment solution and has been constructed as a service merchants will pay for and we will clip the tickets of payments at a price point cheaper than credit cards."

Simon Warner, Centricom CEO said it is not a direct debit process but a secured debit payment in real time.

Warner said the process works almost like an online bank cheque a merchant can receive with the same guarantees, with consumers controlling the entire transaction.

"POLi provides a fully authenticated transaction and is a commercial solution for consumers who don't use credit cards ... we are not trying to compete with credit cards, just enable merchants to give a level of choice," Warner said.

"Consumers choose which bank they bank with and the only piece of information Centricom uses is the BSB number and amount into the transaction fields."

The system uses 168 bit triple DES encryption.

Online "factory outlet" Stuff.com.au has been using the POLi system for most of this year. CEO Mark Robberds said POLI has been used to invite customers to shop at their site because they can offer alternative payment methods to credit cards.

"Both Stuff.com.au and our customer receive immediate confirmation the payment has been processed correctly and ultimately this leads to faster delivery of products," Robberds said.

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Michael Crawford

Computerworld

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