Webpay system open to voucher fraud

Dutch investigations

Webpay International AG, the market leading payment system for digital content and services in Europe, doesn't offer a flawless micro payment service, at least in the Netherlands, according to Dutch consumer watchdog tv show Kassa and computer weekly Computer Idee. It is relatively easy to manipulate user data required for the Dutch MSN music download site (TV item in Dutch over here ).

The payments for that site are handled by Webpay under its original name Firstgate. Firstgate users can buy online vouchers and decide which songs they want to purchase later. Kassa and Computer Idee discovered that these vouchers can be easily purchased by filling in someone else’s name and bank details. Users can even add money to their prepaid account, again using details from other users. None of this information is verified by Firstgate. Even though upgrading the account requires a pin code, it isn’t necessary to enter the code straight away. The song or album to be purchased can be downloaded immediately.

Firstgate, which offers the same service for cable operator Chello, doesn't deny that this kind of fraud is possible, but stresses that that fraudsters can be traced and will be prosecuted. However, the company wasn’t too thrilled with the publicity and originally threatened to sue broadcaster VARA.

Webpay International licenses its micropayment click&buy service also to British Telecom, and to Swisscom, which launched Swisscom click&buy in Q4 2004.

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