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NetCharger to roll out in 40 countries worldwide

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UK e-commerce operation Magex, which hopes to become the standard for making secure payments via the Internet, now has some competition, from Hong Kong-based company New Media Corp. Last week, New Media announced it will be rolling out its NetCharger software in 40 countries during the next three months. The launch follows trials in Italy and the US. NetCharger allows users to pay for goods and services bought on the Internet and have the cost transferred to their phone bills. That saves them from having to transmit their credit card details over the Net, says New Media. It also makes it easier to make payments that would otherwise be too small to be cost-effective for merchants if paid by credit card. It's that 'micropayments' opportunity that Magex, launched last month with much fanfare, hopes to cash in on. Magex, however, has a couple of important advantages over New Media's scheme. First, it’s a subsidiary of a major British bank, NatWest, so it has a certain trust value, and second, it builds in a copyright protection system, supplied by Intertrust, to appeal to online publishers. In short, it's trying to appeal to punters and suppliers. That's a clever move, since the system can only really succeed with a micropayments e-commerce arena, and that's not going to happen unless suppliers such as music companies, market research operations and publishers, have a secure, cost-effective way of selling their products that way. Magex is a credit card-based system -- you may hand over virtual currency for a news story, but ultimately the transaction gets billed to your Visa or MasterCard by Magex. New Media, on the other hand, is targeting countries with relatively low credit card penetration -- the company has its eye on China in particular. ® See AlsoMagex to trial online music sales

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