Micropayment Field Growing

The micropayment market could be lucrative in the future, attracting companies willing to struggle to produce a viable technology. Datapro's Kimberly Underwood has identified a range of competitors to iPIN:

1ClickCharge

CMGI Inc.

New York

www.1clickcharge.com

Charges end up on a consumer's credit card. The registration process requires downloading a thin client and filling out information on which card to use. When a purchase is made, the downloaded applet requests the goods and authorizes payments. 1ClickCharge is aimed primarily at content providers who charge for information.

CyberGold

CyberGold Inc.

Oakland, Calif.

www.cybergold.com

Consumers fund their CyberGold accounts by responding to advertisements by CyberGold's partners. Shopping at participating merchants also earns a rebate. The credits can be spent on goods, transferred to a bank account or credited to a charge card. CyberGold also lets people donate their credits to charity.

eCash

eCash Technologies Inc.

Bothell, Wash.

www.ecash.net

ECash software relies on digital signatures and public key encryption for authentication and security. Launched worldwide in February, eCash boasts a partnership with Deutsche 24, a bank in Germany. Unlike iPIN, banks handle the settlement process.

eChargePhone

eCharge Corp.

Seattle

www.echarge.com

Lets consumers add charges to their phone bills, similar to the 900-number model. Used primarily for subscription services. Requires customers to download software to receive encrypted data and initiate charges. It's limited to systems that can make phone calls to the eCharge server. An eChargeNet product for Internet shopping is in the works. - Amy Helen Johnson

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