Dublin-based online payment service provider Realex announced last week at the Irish Internet Association’s ecommerce convention the launch of www.sepa.ie, a website designed to promote harmonised electronic banking across the EU.
The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) has online banking and marketing objectives that reflect current EU initiatives, such as the Lisbon agenda that plans to introduce small to medium-sized enterprise (SME)-friendly economic climate Europe wide.
Andrew Yoakley, sales manager for Realex, pointed out that many online merchants operating from Ireland come up against difficulties when processing orders from other European countries.
In Germany, for example, credit card penetration is quite low and most Germans use direct debit to facilitate online payments.
In order to pay direct debit in EU countries, Irish merchants are required to open a bank account in this country.
Yoakley said that to encourage more SMEs to do business online, the cost of cross-border payment must be the same prices as national payments.
Realex began in 2000 with just one customer and to date has 2,000 Irish businesses processing their online payments through its business.
Each month 100 more Irish merchants sign up for this service, and €4bn per annum in transactions are processed.
Clients like Aer Arann now do 85pc of their business over the internet and online CD and DVD store CDWow sends four transactions per second using Realex.
Yoakley said that companies looking to gain consumer trust in secure online payments need to address issues such as fraud scoring and pattern checking.
Merchants should also have services in place like address verification service (AVS), security codes (CVV) and 3D security, which is essentially online chip and pin.
By Marie Boran
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