Discover Offers Online ‘Virtual Credit Card’

Discover Financial Services announced today that it is now offering its cardholders the option to have images of their existing Discover cards placed on their computer desktops for online shopping and one-click access to account and purchasing information.

While rival Mastercard announced an identical technology last November, it is only now releasing it to its 23,000 member banks worldwide. The banks must then make the capability available to their cardholders. The technology, according to both Discover and Mastercard, will make it easier for cardholders to shop on the Internet.

The Desk$hop virtual credit card is a graphic image of a Discover credit card that sits on the user’s PC desktop, but accesses Discover’s central server to authorize and track transactions. The card is an online version of the cardholder’s physical card, except the card numbers are not displayed, and a PIN number must be entered every time the card is used.

The technology was developed for both Discover and Mastercard by Trintech (Nasdaq: TTPA), a provider of secure electronic payment infrastructure systems.

Benefits Offered to Cardholders

The credit card offers cardholders several supposed benefits beyond eliminating the need to type in the number when making online purchases. When the card is dragged and dropped onto an online merchant’s checkout page, the card automatically fills out purchase-related information after the user enters his or her PIN number.

Discover said that its customers can also access the central server to get current and past transaction information, get available balance information, pay bills online, and access Discover’s Internet ShopCenter for online discounts and special cashback bonus awards on thousands of products.

About Trintech

Founded in 1987, the San Mateo, California-based Trintech Group designs and develops secure payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and procurement card applications. The company went public at $11.55 (US$) per share on September 27, 1999.

The stock price increased steadily until November, when it leapt significantly after the deal with Mastercard was announced. Shares were up $8 per share at $67 in mid-day trading Wednesday.

In an unrelated announcement today, Trintech announced that it has finalized a deal to have virtual credit cards placed on Motorola’s line of mobile phones for e-commerce transactions.

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