Two competing services for secure high-value online business-to-business (B2B) payments are to work together following pressure from leading banks.
Financial services industry-backed bodies Identrus and Swift are close to concluding negotiations over their rival secure online payment systems.
Identrus confirmed to vnunet.com that discussions about working closer together are at an advanced stage and that an announcement could well be made at the Sibos 2002 financial services technology conference in Geneva at the end of September.
"There are indeed ongoing and constructive negotiations with Swift, and the industry expects something definite out at the Sibos show," said John Bullard, managing director of sales and participant relations at Indentrus.
A spokeswoman for Swift would only say that discussions are "ongoing".
Alan Jebson, worldwide group IT director at HSBC, told vnunet.com: "The availability of two solutions left banks uncertain about which would prosper and so many refrained from espousing or choosing either."
Identrus's Project Eleanor uses digital certificates and has the backing of UK banks including Barclays Bank and HSBC. It is currently being piloted in Europe by Dutch bank ABN Amro.
Swift's e-paymentsPlus is a similar XML-based messaging platform that allows banks to offer branded online payment services to their corporate customers.
Both services allow "straight-through" processing of payments instead of each part - such as negotiation and ordering - being a separate activity.
This will speed up payment and reconciliation, and reduce the amount of paper involved with high-value B2B payments by the banks.
Jebson said negotiations between Swift and Identrus over e-paymentsPlus and Project Eleanor are "nearing conclusion" and that a new service would probably be offered under the Swift umbrella.
"The combined solution is likely to offer flexibility in terms of the trust models and messaging services, but as all existing pilots of Eleanor or e-paymentsPlus use Identrus, this is likely to be the preferred certification provider," he said.
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