Online Payment Firm Targets B2B Market

Amid efforts to rebuild its stock value, CyberCash (Nasdaq: CYCH) on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its online payment system aimed at the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace.

CyberCash said several e-business companies, including, Oracle, IBM and Intershop, have agreed to integrate the company’s payment options into their e-commerce software offerings.

Reston, Virginia-based CyberCash said that more than 26,500 online merchants already use its business-to-consumer (B2C) payment programs and that it plans to leverage that experience as it tackles B2B.

“We have unparalleled expertise in Internet payments processing,” CyberCash vice president of marketing Chuck Riegel said. “We’re now applying that expertise to provide reliable, secure and scalable payment solutions to the B2B market.”

Three Payment Options

Businesses will be able to choose from three payment options under the CyberCash platform, including direct electronic file transfers from one bank to another, traditional credit card payments and purchasing cards issued by merchants directly.

Those options address a pressing need in the B2B marketplace, according to a recent report from the Gartner Group. The research firm predicted that B2B e-commerce will expand 20-fold in the next five years, to US$7.3 trillion annually, and that completely electronic cash transfers will make up 61 percent of all online payments by the end of the decade.

“Today’s physical world payment mechanisms fall short of meeting the fundamental requirements of B2B payments,” Gartner researcher Avivah Litan said.

Lower Profile

Though a very early player in the e-commerce world, CyberCash was passed over for inclusion in an early e-commerce stock index and one of the first e-commerce stock portfolios. Those moves considerably lowered the firm’s profile as e-commerce grew.

More recently, a host of credit card companies have jumped in to offer their own payment options tailored to e-commerce, from one-use credit cards to e-wallets.

In fact, a recent report from Ovum consulting predicted that online payments made without credit cards will grow to $126 billion by 2005.

Financial Struggles

Meanwhile, CyberCash has seen its financial profile suffer as well. After trading as high as $16 earlier this year, company stock has fallen to the $1 – $2 range.

However, in its most recent quarterly earnings report, CyberCash said it trimmed losses to $7.6 million, compared with more than $14 million a year ago. The company had third quarter revenue of $5.8 million.

Earlier this week, CyberCash struck an agreement with PacificNet to provide B2C payment plans to Internet companies in Japan and the rest of the Asian-Pacific market.

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