Hewlett-Packard Co subsidiary VeriFone Inc has come clean about its stealth campaign to get US internet service providers to adopt its secure electronic payment products. Director of partners and business development Tom Masotto told ComputerWire last week that VeriFone has been hawking its payment systems to tier-one ISPs for more than two months already. The company rests its case on two value propositions. One is the fact that with VeriFone software, ISPs can retain control over their internet payment technologies rather than having to outsource them to a third party. The other is, of course, the revenue opportunities created by being able to offer transaction-enabled e-commerce in the first place. VeriFone’s payment model has three parts: a vGate internet gateway to be hosted by the financial institution; the vPOS point of sale server, which handles receipt management, payment and transaction management; and an optional vWallet for the consumer. VeriFone also supports payment by credit cards, which seems sensible, since these still account for the vast majority of transactions conducted over the net. The company sees its key competitors as IBM and CyberCash. CyberCash hosts services for ISPs who do prefer to relinquish control, so it’s not exactly in VeriFone’s market. As for IBM, VeriFone snipes that Big Blue is excessively focussed on the secure electronic transaction (SET) protocol. In keeping with its commitment to existing payment methods, VeriFone’s software supports both SET and the already widely deployed Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).