TM Direct was supposed to be a breakthrough for online PIN-based debit payments. The Dallas company - launched in 1999 - had an encrypted PC application that could turn consumers' PCs into secure transactional endpoints, just like at an ATM or POS store terminal.

But after biometric payments kingpin Pay By Touch snapped up ATM Direct for $30.5 million the software firm never got beyond some minor merchant deals through a processing agreement with Fiserv's ACCEL/Exchange network. Its coda came earlier this year in the ignominious collapse of PBT into bankruptcy court.

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