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Revision of 24 May 1998
© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 1995, 1997, 1998
Available under an AEShareNet licence
This document is at http://www.rogerclarke.com/EC/EPMIntro.html
The purpose of this document is to provide a brief background to the rapid emergence of methods which use electronic means to transfer value, or to facilitate the transfer of value. Some of these are operational (e.g. EFT/POS, F-EDI and stored-value cards), whereas others are in trial or on the drawing boards (e.g. electronic cash, especially of the 'milli-cent' variety).
To provide feedback, please email to the convenor, Roger Clarke, using the subject heading EPM (to ensure that my email filter places it in the right in-tray).
Value has been conventionally transferred using a variety of techniques, including:
These mechanisms have various characteristics, such as the extent to which the parties are identified, the traceability of the transaction, and the taxability of the transaction. The reason that so many mechanisms exist is that there are many different circumstances in which value is exchanged, and each of the mechanisms has niche-markets in which it is perceived by at least some parties to have advantages.
Information technology has created, and continues to create, many new possibilities for value-exchange. Some of the new techniques represent automation of existing methods, whereas others are novel or revolutionary.
The following mechanisms exist, are in pilot, or are being designed:
EFT/POS involves the use of plastic cards in terminals on merchants' premises. It actually comprises two distinct mechanisms:
Direct data entry provides a less circuitous path for transaction data than is the case with cheques. It is also of two types:
F-EDI involves the transmission of payment transaction data, and associated remittance advice data, from a payee to their bank, for onforwarding (via banks and/or value-added network operators) to the payee's bank and the payee;
This term is used for a variety of related methods whereby a payer uses an electronic device in the home or workplace to initiate payment to a payee. In addition to computer technology, it can be performed using the telephone and interactive voice response (IVR);
This is a form of automation of cash, in which the tokens are not physical (like notes and coins), but electronic. It is targeted at circumstances in which the card-holder is present at a point of sale or service. There are several variants:
This is another form of automation of cash into electronic form. It addresses circumstances in which the payer is *not* present at the point of sale or service, but has electronic communications facilities available, e.g. is connected to the Internet, or to some other manifestation of the emergent global information infrastructure, such as a cable-TV installation with enhanced capabilities.
A (very provisional) classification of the kinds of schemes for electronic cash is as follows:
A competitive battle is raging between conventional and electronic payment mechanisms, and among the various new schemes. It is unlikely that cash payment will die out, because of its ease of use, flexibility, anonymity, and robustness in the face of technical difficulties. On the other hand, some venerable documentary methods may quickly disappear, because one or more electronic mechanisms that address the same niche appear likely to be much more efficient.
Enormous changes are taking place in commerce, and it is important that the issues be subjected to careful analysis from the viewpoints of corporations, regulatory agencies, the economy, society and individuals.
The following additional sources are available:
The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.
From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 50 million in early 2015.
Sponsored by Bunhybee Grasslands, the extended Clarke Family, Knights of the Spatchcock and their drummer
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd
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78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916
Created: 24 December 1995 - Last Amended: 24 May 1998; addition of FfE licence 5 March 2004 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
This document is at www.rogerclarke.com/EC/EPMIntro.html