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CLEAR offers Internet business integration Tech.

CLEAR Communications today launched its Payment Gateway service, citing the new application as a 'first step' that will accelerate the integration of Internet technologies into New Zealand businesses.

Payment Gateway is a real time credit card verification tool that gives customers a web-based interface to the EFT-POS network.

The service is designed primarily for call centres, allowing over the phone credit card purchases to be cleared online within as little as three seconds, with payment secured immediately.

With over 500 call centres in New Zealand, CLEAR's Payment Gateway Product Marketing Manager Richard Hardy anticipates that there will be a high demand for Payment Gateway. Around 35 major companies are expected to be online, using the service, by the end of the year.

Hardy said that Payment Gateway will introduce customers to ways that they can use IP technologies to enhance their business processes and reduce costs.

"Payment Gateway is a tangible application with real benefits for customers which include lower costs of sales and time efficiencies," said Hardy. "It will give businesses a first step towards fully integrating the Internet and e-commerce into their business practices."

"One of the major benefits of Payment Gateway is that it can readily be incorporated into the call centre's operating environment, providing exponential efficiencies very cost-effectively and without disruption," said Hardy.

All a call centre representative needs to do is enter customers' credit card details and the Payment Gateway, which is linked directly to the banking network, will confirm or decline the transaction.

"This process, until now, has not taken place in real time, resulting in a degree of uncertainty and risk for both the call centre and for customers purchasing good and services over the phone," said Hardy.

Further enhancing the process, the web interface features a real time user-definable transaction-report tool. A call centre representative can access a daily transaction report or, if required, a report on the transaction amounts within a specific date or time range.

Customers have no capital outlays for the Payment Gateway service as CLEAR provides them with the application for which they need no additional hardware or software. All that is needed to use the Payment Gateway is a 4.0 browser with the interface being accessed on line via a private website.

Charges are based entirely on the number of transactions passing through the call centre with typical prices ranging from $50 to $1500 per month.

Transactions conducted in Payment Gateway are highly secure, taking place over a private network using industry standard encryption.

"The private network creates more security for customers allowing them to get used to conducting transactions using IP technologies before moving onto a public or web based network which is required for most e-commerce sites," said Hardy.

Future versions of Payment Gateway will incorporate standard API e-commerce and interactive voice response capabilities, available to a broad range of businesses and accessible from the public Internet. CLEAR is looking to release Payment Gateway version two later this year.

Editor's Note: A screenshot of Payment Gateway's web interface is available as a jpeg file on request.

ENDS

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