MS, PASS Consortium to Offer Payments-as-a-Service Platform in Vista

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-07-12 Email Print this article Print

With help from a software infrastructure from IP Commerce and the cooperation of a group of payment processors, data aggregators and small business lenders, small businesses will have access to on-demand payment services.

Boston—Software as a service has taken on a new meaning for small business owners that touch, in any way, the payments industry.

Thanks to the combined forces of a software infrastructure from IP Commerce, the IP Payments Framework, and a consortium of payment processors, data aggregators and small business lenders—including the likes of Chase Bank of JP Morgan Chase & Co., PayPal and CIT Group—small businesses will be able to complete financial transactions from their desktops, as a service.

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference here, IP Commerce, in conjunction with Microsoft, announced July 12 its PASS (Payments as a Secure Service) capability, which will be available to small businesses through the next version of Windows Vista.

IP Commerce, based in Denver, is focused on delivering payments as a service to any application. Its software currently lives in two places: in browsers (in an online store's shopping cart, for example,) and in hardware at the point of sale.

At the same time, IP Commerce's payments platform is hosted by banks and other payment service providers, and by transaction network service providers for payments that handle about 12 billion transactions a year, according to Chip Kahn, founder and CEO of IP Commerce.

"We spent a lot of time creating a meta model to enable a single payment service class—for credit cards, business-to-consumer and business-to-business payment capabilities—made available through an SOA [service-oriented architecture]," Kahn said.

"Where we're focused now is in creating a critical mass around this service and providing more capabilities for the end user to access on-demand payment services, and access any payment service they'd like right off Vista," he said.

The way small businesses currently interface with credit card and financial services companies is through one-to-one integrations—either large-scale or through some sort of file transfer facilitated by EDI (electronic data interchange).

The goal of PASS is to allow ISVs, system integrators and VARS to create their own SOA-based financial management applications using the PASS infrastructure.

At the end of the day, the idea is to enable, for example, a supplier to get a purchase order invoice through to Wal-Mart and accept payment without having to do a proprietary integration, Kahn said. Through the PASS Consortium, small businesses will be able to receive payments, process transactions, pay invoices and get other financial services—a goal that requires buy-in from a good portion of the companies that actually facilitate electronic payments, hence the Consortium.

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