But credit cards have their limitations. They are not suitable for purchases of digital content costing less than a few dollars per transaction (micro-payments). The card system is not cost efficient for processing small payment amounts, and in many cases the minimum transaction amount is around US$10.
To sell digital content, a different payment method is required. In the early days of the internet, developers created ?e-money,? enabling consumers to purchase low-cost items online from a website supported by the e-money provider. However, there was the potential for fraud on the part of the e-money providers, to whom consumers supplied their credit-card numbers in exchange for tokens.
Many of these early attempts to create e-money mechanisms for managing micro-payment transactions schemas met with business failure (e.g., early micro-payment vendors such as Flooz, Benz, Digicash). Even for feasible business cases, the failures often occurred because the merchants had to implement additional hardware/software requirements, and the customers had to prepay. It was simply too difficult to implement, and not worth the (then) small revenue streams from the internet.
But the situation is much different now. New micro-payment services allow customers to set up online accounts tied to their chequing and savings accounts, thereby reaching a whole new segment of customers without credit cards. Micro-payment also has another future as a replacement for cash to pay for goods and services at shops, cafes, bars, libraries, printers, pharmacies, sports centres, photocopying and laser-printing shops, as well as for bus and taxi fares, or for any purchase in which coins are used.
What are evolving from the early attempts are three distinct micro-payment schemas:
– The Retail Model which utilizes a stored value system
– The Telco Model which leverages the telcos? billing system
– The Financial Model which uses a multi-application smart card with an e-purse
The Retail Model – Stored Value Systems
The principal of the stored value systems is based on the micro-payments schema: store value accounts are connected to a credit card in which a consumer has to load credits in order to make a purchases, or connected to a stored value account that accumulates payments and makes authorizations based on increments.
With a stored value system, the consumers need to register for the services online or by phone; they have to provide a credit card number and load a balance. In order for the consumer to be able to make re-loads, the system needs to remember his or her information. Stored value systems are common in the service industry, for example as part of the McQuick service in Canada. 소액결제현금화
Telco Model – Micro-Payment Billing
The rapid penetration of GSM handsets has already led to a situation in which more individuals carry a telephone than carry a bankcard. Additionally, people tend to have a single mobile telephone from a single operator, whereas they might have multiple bankcards.
This suggests that mobile operators have access to demographic segments not available to traditional financial institutions. By targeting the right demographic group, mobile operators can use their own billing systems to register micro-payment transactions. Pricing wireless applications on a per-use or subscription basis is the best way to appeal to consumers and to give them value for their money. More importantly, separating content fees from transport fees allows carriers to keep all transport revenues while enabling a revenue stream for content providers.
The Financial Model – Smart Card with E-Purse
The smart card uses chip card technology and is designed for secure payments over the internet and mobile phones, and for micro-payments such as those made in fast-food restaurants, movie chains, convenience stores, vending machines, payphones, and on mass transportation and toll highways. A smart card payment scheme can manage low-value and high-value payments. The low-value payment scheme is known as e-purse, which is a cash-like, prepaid scheme, where the user has the choice of making either personalized or anonymous payments.
Purchases can be made on the internet by a smart card reader that connects to a PC. Secure internet payments may be made just as they are in shops which use this device. The internet merchant uses a terminal which is similar to a normal shop merchant?s, and payment and collection are made in the same way.