Description and Evaluation of 
Different Types of 
E-Payment Systems 
- for the e-commerce students of
Tim Richardson

updated 2015 Jan 23
for e-payment systems 1999-2005 go to

WTGR at a "Lab" meeting with one of 
his grandchildren
There are many challenges to creating content and updating web pages on an active teaching site like One challenge is the question of what to do with a category of content that has been eclipsed by newer technologies.

When i first started talking about e-commerce payment systems in 1999, many of the things we take for granted today (Jan 2013) like PayPal (invented in 1999, acquired by eBay in 2002) had just started to become popular.

Now in early 2013 a definite trend confirmed is that the majority of access to web content, especially shopping sites, is through smartphones and other mobile devices such as small tablets, e-readers and netbooks.

Therefore, in a sense, all e-payment systems are m-payment systems and subsequent developments will be discussed on the page
If you are reading this in 2013, you are welcome to scroll through the content below, but please be advised that many parts of it need updating from 2006

see also
INTRODUCTION This matrix was created for the purpose of better explaining to, and discussing with, e-commerce students, the basics of e-payment systems. We looked for a similar matrix on the web but could not find anything close to explaining all the various payment systems within an annotated structure. There is a small matrix at but it is dated 1996 and has no indications of being updated. checked again in March 2003, and October 2003 - the site still up, but it was  not updated.

There is a very long alphabetically ordered list of payment systems at the web site of Networks and Telecommunications  Research Group, Department of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin. We consider this list to be a great resource, however each entry has just one hyperlink to the main page of each system, leaving it to the browser to read further.  In 2002 - the specific page on payment systems had been taken down. Dr Phillip M. Hallam-Baker has a page at on e payment systems but I have no idea of how up-to-date it is. "A Bibliography of Electronic Payment Information" can be found at assembled by Stanford University. Scott Richards, and MBA student did a good site at but it is dated 1996 and no longer working.

So, because there was a lack of a simple source of information on the different e-payment system, we decided to build our own page, and have kept it updated these past 3 years.

The learning objectives of this section is that when the student has finished reading this material, and clicking on the links [that work] they will be able to 

  • know the various components of an e-payment system
  • understand that there are many system competing
  • know the names of some of the leading contenders
  • anticipate which system might see market dominance in the future
  • understand the basics of what an e-payment system needs to be competitive

WTGR 2003 Oct 01

This is the type of subject which is "challenging" to teach because the "players" change often and technical innovations occur frequently - sometimes between semesters 

It is the responsibility of the student to use the info on this page as a basic guide, and then use various e-media sites to see what is the current status of the payment systems mentioned, and check for new developments.

By 2005 there has been a Darwinian "winnowing out" of some of the systems that were developed in the period of 1999-2003.

By 2011 and 2012 when smart phones began to evolve from cell phones, the credit card companies are putting a lot of research into competing in this field so that they end up as participants and not observers. 

It seems fairly soon that something will breakthrough and we will have one or two dominant players emerge - (Apple Jan 2015?) however by the time of last updating this page that player is not easy to identify.


. During the 3rd week in October 2013, Richardson was interviewed at length on TVO's "The Agenda" hosted by Steve Paikin about the digital currency Bitcoin. . Richardson discussed why digital currencies are increasingly desired for internet marketing situations and also talked about how Bitcoin works and the anonymous aspect which challenges law enforcement.
Challenges  Challenges of Internet Payment Systems
  • "The biggest challenge for Electronic Payment Systems is finding customers and vendors who are willing to risk investing in a product that is currently in its introduction stage. This has created is a chicken and egg effect. Banks/software companies can't get customers without vendors, and they can't get vendors without customers."
    • First Mover Advantages
    • Second Mouse gets the cheese
  • "Security factors are perhaps the biggest deterrent for individuals interested in making on-line purchases. Most people fear giving their credit card numbers, phone numbers or addresses not knowing who will be able to retrieve that information without their consent. It is interesting to note that most people don't even give it a  second thought when purchasing items with a credit card over the phone, but to ask them to do it from their PC  makes them very uncomfortable. New developments in credit card security Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)  are taking this fear away by adding encryption to scramble the card so only the vendor and customer can read it. "
    • Security challenges and cyber crime has escalated in the minds of most consumers due to incidents such as the Heart Bleed Bug Virus of 2014

      (link works 2015 Jan 23)
      During the 2nd week in April 2014 (April 15th),  Richardson was interviewed by Jacqueline Milczarek live on air for CTV News to discuss the Heartbleed computer bug. Richardson reminded viewers that "the fundamental principle of security is that you don't have to be perfect, you just have to be better prepared than people who made no contingency at all" 
  • "Privacy is a significant factor in some of the payment schemes. Cyberpunks feel that privacy is paramount. However, the public has become comfortable with credit cards and debit cards. Private cash has a potential market, but it may not be as large as people today are thinking."
from Scott Richards at
Challenges  student Rajeeve Ganeshalingam in MGD415 at UTM in March 2006 emailed to say

In your class regarding e-payment systems you talked about a cashless society.  I ran into this article today,,
It is regarding a couple who ordered a $4.33 combo from Burger King but were accidentally charged $4330 out of their debit account.  The funny thing is that they didn't even notice the money was taken out until a few days later when they went to make a mortgage payment and their was no money in the bank.  Burger King wanted to refund the money but Bank of America said there was a few days hold on the money so they wont get it back right away.  Eventually they did get their money back however, this article goes to show you some of the problems faced by a cashless society where money flows through wire and the importance of following up on your transactions regularly.

Rajeeve Ganeshalingam

Rajeeve's story is one of many that we could add to this page - suffice it to say that these types of stories are one of the main reasons why many people are still nervous about a cashless society since it is perceived that technology just causes bigger mistakes.

While technology can help things in many ways, it also means that people who use technology have to be more vigilant about mistakes that can be made since sometimes "digital errors" are not so obvious to spot as errors "in real life".

I would certainly notice the difference between handing the Burger King counter person a $5 bill compared to handing over $4330 in cash.




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