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August 19, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Internet payment company CyberCash Inc has unveiled InstaBuy, the latest addition to its suite of e-commerce software products. InstaBuy is designed to provide a boost to the volume of online transactions by enabling single-click purchasing by consumers. The software, when used by participating online merchants and financial institutions, stores customer and payment information for future use. The first time a consumer makes an online purchase with a participating merchant, the information is captured in the InstaBuy software and secured by the branding financial institution. When the consumer makes a further purchase at any participating merchant’s site, InstaBuy fills in the payment screen with the purchase information. The consumer verifies the information and completes the purchase with a single click. CyberCash said InstaBuy should address two major concerns in the otherwise growing electronic commerce market – the cumbersome process of providing personal information for each purchase and lingering fears over security of payment information. CyberCash will generate revenue from the product by both licensing the software to financial institutions and collecting sign-up fees from merchants, as well as additional per-transaction or flat fees in many cases. CyberCash said it is currently in negotiations with major financial institutions and vendors to get on board before the holiday season and insisted that partnership announcements would be coming soon. InstaBuy, currently in beta testing, is the first service offered as part of the company’s banner Agile Wallet platform. More components of Agile Wallet will be coming soon, including SET support and micropayment capabilities in the near-term and other services over the next 18 months. The roadmap calls for such things as standard APIs for loyalty programs and other applications, smart card and other payment options, separable interfaces (HTML and customized frontends, etc.) and support for non-traditional computing platforms such as set-top boxes. The company said its micropayment technology, called CyberCoin, is still expected to play an important role in the overall mix of services going forward. It feels that the market simply isn’t ready for it yet – that the technology is ahead of its time – and it will keep it on a back burner, simmering until significant opportunities arise. In terms of its recent acquisitions, the company said that it is now past the integration stage – and into the execution stage – with the ICVerify Inc purchase (CI No 3,371) and that it expects to see significant benefits from the move into the physical world retail market that the deal provides. There was a hiccup in productivity at the onset of the merger, Cybercash said, but the complementary nature of the businesses and the absence of the previous competition between the two will greatly increase its market opportunities. It also claims to have had a great deal of success in migrating the customer base it acquired from First Virtual Holdings Inc (CI No 3,457) from that company’s internet payment system to its own CashRegister service. Some of the smaller customers have slipped by the wayside in the transition, CyberCash admits, but a substantial number have made what it describes as an easy migration. As in most industries that are experiencing a great deal of consolidation, CyberCash realizes the importance of critical mass as well as complementary technologies. Thus, growth through acquisition continues to be a publicly-stated strategy at CyberCash and it is looking at other opportunities along those lines, although there is nothing concrete on the horizon. For now, the company seems to be banking on widespread acceptance of Agile Wallet services as they are rolled out to stem the mounting losses as revenue lags. Last month, the company reported a second-quarter loss of $9.8m on revenue of just $2.5m. It had previously cut 20% of its staff following the merger with ICVerify (CI No 3,442).

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