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Payment Systems For E Commerce

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 3953 words Published: 18th Apr 2017

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The emergence of e-commerce has effectively created many new financial needs which in many cases cannot be fulfilled by traditional payment systems. By considering all of these aspects many organizations are exploring various types of electronic payment systems and digital currency and also various issues regarding these payment systems. Broadly electronic payment system is classified in to mainly into four categories: Online Credit card Payment system, Online Electronic Cash system, Electronic Cheque System and Smart Cards based Electronic payment system. Every system has its advantages and disadvantages for the customers and merchants. These systems have number of requirements: e.g. acceptability, convenience, security, cost, anonymity, control, and traceability. Hence, instead of focusing on the technological specifications of various e payment systems, the researchers have distinguished e payment system based on what is transmitting over the network; analyze the difference of each electronic payment systems based on their requirements, characteristics and assess the applicability of every system.


Payment is the integral process in the mercantile process, electronic payment system is the integral part of the electronic commerce. Due to the emergence of electronic commerce has created new financial needs through which need for new payment systems has created while traditional payment system cannot be able to fulfill its needs. For example new payment systems are of the forms such as auctions between individual¿½s online results in searching for new payment systems that means peer to peer payment methods that allows individuals to make payments through their e-mails. By recognizing these needs all interested parties (i.e: government, business communities and financial service providers) are invading various types of electronic payment systems and issues regarding those payment systems and electronic currency. Some of the proposed systems are electronic type of the traditional payment system such as credit cards, cheques, while, others are based on the digital currency technology and have the potential for definitive impact on today¿½s financial and monetary system. While popular developers of electronic payment system predict fundamental changes in the financial sector because of the innovations in electronic payment system (Kalakota & Ravi, 1996). Therefore in particular electronic commerce have many methods of payment systems, these methods of payment systems are developed to support the electronic commerce. A failure to take place these developments into the proper context is likely to result in undue focus on the various experimental initiatives to develop electronic forms of payment without a proper reflection on the broader implications for the existing payment system.

The table below shows a steady increase in the annual growth of total U.S. e-commerce sales for the 2000-2009 periods.


The payment systems that uses electronic distribution networks constitute a frequent system in the banking and business sector since 1960¿½s, especially for the transfer of large amounts of money. In the four decades that have passed since their appearance, necessary technological developments have taken place, which on the one hand have expanded the possible technologies of electronic payment systems besides they have also created new social and business practice, which make the use of these systems necessary. These changes, naturally, have affected the definition of electronic payments, which is emerging depending on the needs of each period. In most general form, the word electronic payment comprised of any payment (transactions) to businesses, bank or public services from citizens or businesses, which are made through a telecommunications or electronic networks by using modern technology. It is obvious that based on this definition, the electronic payments that will be the objects of present result, is the payment that is executed by the payer by himself, whether the latter is a consumer or a business, without the intervention of the another natural person. Furthermore, these payments are made from distance, without the presence of the payer physically and naturally it does not include cash. By providing such definition for the electronic payment system, this make researches to include the information concerning the accounts of the parties involved in the transaction, and also technological means of transaction execution such as distribution channel etc.

Size of Electronic Payments: Electronic payments can be made in different forms, based on these forms electronic commerce payments systems are categorized as Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Consumer-to-Business (C2B) and Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C). Each of which has special characteristics that depend on the value of order. Danial, (2002) classified electronic payment systems as follows:

¿½ Micro Payment (less than $ 10) that is mainly conducted in C2C and B2C e-commerce.

¿½ Consumer Payment that has a value between $ 10 and $ 500. It is conducted mainly in B2C transactions.

¿½ Business Payment that has the value more than $ 500. It is conducted mainly in B2B e-commerce.


To dig the depth of the electronic payment process, it is better to first understand the processing of traditional payment system. A traditional process of payment and settlement involves a buyer-to-seller transfer of cash or payment information (i.e., cheque and credit cards). The general settlement of payment process takes place in the financial processing network. A cash payment requires a buyer¿½s withdrawals form his/her bank account, a transfer of cash to the seller, and the seller¿½s deposit of payment to his/her account. Non-cash payment systems are settled by adjusting i.e. crediting and debiting the appropriate accounts between banks based on payment information conveyed via cheque or credit cards.

Figure 1: Conventional/Traditional Payment System

Figure is simplified diagram for both cash and non-cash transactions. As cash Transferred from the buyer¿½s bank to seller¿½s bank through face-to-face exchange in the market. If a buyer uses a non-cash form of payment, payment information instead of cash flows from the buyer to the seller, and payments are settled between affected banks, who notationally adjust accounts based on payment information.


Electronic payment system have been operating since 1960s and also expanding very rapidly as well as growth and complexity. After the development of traditional payment system new features such as Electronic Funds Transfer based payments methods came in to existence. It was the first electronic based payment system, which does not depend on intermediary of central processing. An electronic fund transfer is a financial application of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), which transfers credit card numbers or electronic cheques via secured private transfer lines between banks and major corporations. To use EFT to clear payments and settle accounts, online payment services needs all the capabilities to process the order, accounts and receipts. But a landmark came in to direction with the development of digital currency. Use of electronic money and digital currency looks alike the paper money as a means of payment. Digital based currency system is having same advantages as of paper based currency system those are namely anonymity and convenience. As in other electronic payments systems (i.e. EFT based and intermediary based) here is also concern about the security in the electronic payment systems during the transactions and storage is also a main concern, although from the different perspective, for digital currency systems double spending, counterfeiting, and storage become critical issues whereas eavesdropping and the issue of liability (when charges are made without authorizations) is important for the notational funds transfer. Figure 2 shows digital currency based payment system.

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In this figure, it is shown that intermediary acts as an electronic bank, which converts outside money (e.g. Rupees or US $), into inside money (e.g. tokens or e-cash), which is circulated within online markets. However, as a private monetary system, digital currency has wide ranging impact on money and monetary system with implications extending far beyond more transactional efficiency.


With the rapid growth in the electronic commerce need for the payment systems are increased as that of e commerce by which dozens of payments systems are came in to existence and also they are already in practice. Grouping of these payments systems are made based upon the information being transferred online. Murthy (2002) explained six types of electronic payment systems: (1) PC-Banking (2) Credit Cards (3) Electronic Cheques (i-cheques) (4) Micro payment (5) Smart Cards and (6) E-Cash. Kalakota and Whinston (1996) identified three types of electronic payment systems: (1) Digital Token based electronic payment systems, (2) Smart Card based electronic payment system and (3) Credit based electronic payment systems. Dennis (2001) classified electronic payment system into two categories: (1) Electronic Cash and (2) Electronic Debit-Credit Card Systems. Thus, electronic payment system can be broadly divided into four general types (Anderson, 1998):

¿½ Online Credit Card Payment System

¿½ Electronic Cheque System

¿½ Electronic Cash System and

¿½ Smart Card based Electronic Payment System

Online Credit Card Payment System: It seeks to extend the functionality of existing credit cards for use as online shopping payment tools. This payment system has been widely accepted by consumers and merchants throughout the world, and by far the most popular methods of payments especially in the retail markets (Laudon and Traver, 2002). These forms of payment systems are having many advantages, which were never available through the traditional payments methods. Some of the advantages of the online credit card payment systems are: privacy, integrity, compatibility, good transaction efficiency, acceptability, convenience, mobility, low financial risk and anonymity. Added to all these, to avoid the complexity associated with the digital cash or electronic-cheques, consumers and vendors are also looking at credit card payments on the internet as one of possible time-tested alternative. But, this payment system has raised several problems before the consumers and merchants. Online credit card payment systems are also having many disadvantages lack of authentication, repudiation of charges and credit card frauds. It also seeks to address consumer fears about using credit card such as having to reveal credit information at multiple sites and repeatedly having to communicate sensitive information over the Internet. Basic process of Online credit card payment system is very simple as that of traditional payment systems. If consumers want to purchase a product or service, they simply send their credit card details to the service provider involved and the credit card organization will handle this payment like any other. This can be understood very easily with the format (Figure 3) of Credit Card Payment Form.

Electronic Cheque Payment System: Electronic cheque fulfills the needs of many business organizations, which are previously exchanging paper based cheque based on the vendors, consumers and government. Working process of e-cheque is as same as that of the traditional cheque payment system. An account holder will issue the electronic cheque document which contains the information such as name of the account holder payee name, name of the financial institution, payer¿½s account number and the amount of payment on the cheque. Most of the information is in un coded form. Like a paper cheques e-cheques also bear the digital equivalent of signature: a computed number that authenticates the cheque from the owner of the account. Digital checking payment system seeks to extend the functionality of existing checking accounts for use as online shopping payment tools. Electronic cheque system has many advantages: (1) they do not require consumers to reveal account information to other individuals when setting an auction (2) they do not require consumers to continually send sensitive financial information over the web (3) they are less expensive than credit cards and (4) they are much faster than paper based traditional cheque. But, this system of payment also has several disadvantages. The disadvantage of electronic cheque system includes their relatively high fixed costs, their limited use only in virtual world and the fact that they can protect the users? anonymity. Therefore, it is not very suitable for the retail transactions by consumers, although useful for the government and B2B operations because the latter transactions do not require anonymity, and the amount of transactions is generally large enough to cover fixed processing cost. The process of electronic checking system can be described using (figure 4) the following steps.

Step 1: a purchaser fills a purchase order form, attaches a payment advice (electronic cheque), signs it with his private key (using his signature hardware), attaches his public key certificate, encrypts it using his private key and sends it to the vendor.

Step 2: the vendor decrypts the information using his private key, checks the purchaser¿½s certificates, signature and cheque, attaches his deposit slip, and endorses the deposit attaching his public key certificates. This is encrypted and sent to his bank.

Step 3: the vendor¿½s bank checks the signatures and certificates and sends the cheque for clearance. The banks and clearing houses normally have a private secure data network.

Step 4: when the cheque is cleared, the amount is credited to the vendor¿½s account and a credit advice is sent to him.

Step 5: the purchaser gets a consolidated debit advice periodically.

E-cheque provide a security rich Internet payment option for businesses and offer an easy entry into electronic commerce without a significant investment in new technologies or legal systems.

Electronic Cash Payment System: Electronic payment system is new technology in the online payment systems which improve the features such as security and privacy because it combines computerized convenience. Its versatility opens up a host of new markets and applications. E-cash is an electronic or digital form of value storage and value exchange that have limited convertibility into other forms of value and require intermediaries to convert. E-cash presents some characteristics like storability, monetary value, interoperability, irretrievability, and security. // By using all these characteristics it makes electronic cash more attractive payment system on the internet (Online). Added to these, this payment system offers numerous advantages like privacy, good acceptability, authority, convenience, low transactions cost and good anonymity. But, this system of payment also has many disadvantages such as poor transaction efficiency, poor mobility, and high financial risk, as people are solely responsible for the lost or stolen. Gary and Perry (2002), just like real world currency counterpart, electronic cash is susceptible to forgery. It is possible, though increasingly difficult, to create and spend forged e-cash.

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E-Cash Structure: e-cash structure could be identified as a string of bits that represents certain values such as reference number and digital signature, which could be used for the security purpose to prevent forgery and criminal use (Wright, 2002). But, the structure proposed by Wright (2002) needs some extension to make e-cash more secure. Therefore, the present model (Figure 3.5) adds a digital watermark to e-cash structure to protect it from the illegal copy and forgery activities further, the model modified the structure of the reference number to support tractability as shown in the figure 5.

The proposed e-cash structure is comparatively better than suggested by Wright (2002), because security issue is given importance of top most priority in the present model. But, still there are certain concerns to be addressed for an electronic cash system. For example, who has the right to issue electronic cash? Can every bank issue its own money? If so how do you prevent fraud? And who will monitor the banking operations to protect consumers? Many of these concepts relate to the legal and banking regulatory aspects. However all these issues are beyond the scope of the study and therefore, cannot be included here. But, these issues must be addressed before establishing a complete e-cash based payment system.

Smart Cards based Electronic Payment System: Smart cards are receiving renewed attention as a mode of online payment. They are essentially credit card sized plastic cards with the memory chips and in some cases, with microprocessors embedded in them so as to serve as storage devices for much greater information than credit cards with inbuilt transaction processing capability.

This card also contains some kinds of an encrypted key that is compared to a secret key contained on the user¿½s processor. Some smart cards have provision to allow users to enter a personal identification number (PIN) code. Smart cards have been in use for well over the two decades now and have been widespread mostly in Europe and Asian Countries. Owing to their considerable flexibility, they have been used for a wide range of functions like highway toll payment, as prepaid telephone cards and as stored value debit cards. However, with the recent emergence of e-commerce, these devices are increasingly being viewed as a particularly appropriate method to execute online payment system with considerably greater level of security than credit cards. Compared with traditional electronic cash system, smart cards based electronic payment systems do not need to maintain a large real time database. They also have advantages, such as anonymity, transfer payment between individual parties, and low transactional handling cost of files. Smart cards are also better protected from misuse than, say conventional credit cards, because the smart card information is encrypted. Currently, the two smart cards based electronic payment system- Mondex and Visa Cash are incompatible in the smart cards and card reader specification. Not knowing which smart card system will become market leader; banks around the world are unwilling to adopt either system, let alone other smart card system. Therefore, establishing a standard smart card system, or making different system interoperable with one another is critical success factors for smart card based payment system. Kalakota and Whinston (1996), classified smart cards based electronic payment system as (1) relationship based smart cards and electronic purses. Electronic purses, which may replace money, are also known as debit card. Further Diwan and Singh (2000) and Sharma and Diwan (2000), classified smart cards into four categories. These are: (1) memory cards: this card can be used to store password or pin number. Many telephone cards use these memory cards (2) shared key cards: it can store a private key such as those used in the public key cryptosystems. In this way, the user can plug in the card to a workstation and workstation can read the private key for encryption or decryption (3) signature carrying card: this card contains a set of pre generated random numbers. These numbers can be used to generate electronic cash (4) signature carrying cards: these cards carry a co-processor that can be used to generate large random numbers. These random numbers can then be used for the assignment as serial numbers for the electronic cash.


Technology created lives easier for human beings. It has decreases the work up to many extends such as distance space and even time. One of the technological innovation in the banking and financial sectors is the electronic payments. // By using electronic payments we can perform financial operations electronically, thus avoiding long lines and other hassles. Electronic Payments provides greater freedom to individuals in paying their licenses, taxes, fees, fines and purchases at unconventional locations and at whichever time of the day, 365 days of the year. On the basis of present study, first remark is that despite the existence of variety of e-commerce payment systems, credit cards are the most dominant payment system. This is consequences of advantageous characteristics, most importantly the long established networks and very wide user¿½s base. Second, alternative e-commerce payment systems are some countries are debit cards. In fact, like many other studies, present study also reveals that the smart card based e-commerce payment system is best and it is expected that in the future smart cards will eventually replace the other electronic payment systems. Third, given the limited users bases, e-cash is not a feasible payment option. Thus, there are number of factors which affect the usage of e-commerce payment systems. Among all these user base is most important. Added to this, success of e-commerce payment systems also depends on consumer preferences, ease of use, cost, industry agreement, authorization, security, authentication, non-refutability, accessibility and reliability and anonymity and public policy.


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