SYDNEY, 25 JUNE 2010 - Payments and card giant Visa yesterday launched a new service that would allow children to have online purchasing accounts without the hassle of age restrictions or card application forms.
Dubbed "payclick", the new web-payments service would not require a card to be issued and would be confined to transactions of $20 or under.
Flagship merchants that have signed onto the service in Australia include Apple and Telstra's BigPond games and music stores.
Rather than entering a credit or debit card number into a checkout on a website, consumers with pre-registered accounts click on a button that allows them to enter a password to let them pay.
The service directly challenges a similar move by eBay subsidiary PayPal that last year gave software developers access to its payments engine to embed in their applications, thereby dramatically reducing the complexity of transactions.
The rush of consumers to content shopping malls such as those that service Apple's iPhone and iPad would be a potential bonanza for payment schemes that typically take a cut of between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of the purchase price of goods and services bought online with credit cards.
But the size of the paid online content market has been constrained so far because young people, who are often rapacious consumers of games and music, are restricted in what they pay for online by virtue of age limits of 16 years for payment cards.
Visa is now after the under-16s market that has been largely dominated by cash or parental plastic.
Visa general manager for Australia and New Zealand Chris Clark emphasised yesterday that while his company wanted a cut of teenage allowances, the company had gone out its way to put supervisory controls on which purchases could be made.
Mr Clark said parents would be alerted to purchases and could authorise what could be bought.
"Call it digital pocket money," Mr Clark said.
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