Equifax Inc. has announced PayNet Secure, a comprehensive system for processing on-line check and card payments.

Equifax said it will hold field trials of the check portion this quarter, with a product launching planned for early 2000. On-line credit card processing would follow in 2000.

The company said it expects PayNet Secure to reach up to 200 million people and raise the comfort level with Internet shopping.

"Consumers will be able to pay by check on-line using Secure Sockets Layer technology, never once touching pen to paper," said Jeff Carbiener, general manager of Equifax Check Solutions. The system would help retailers serve about 80 million check-writers who do not carry credit cards.

Several Equifax-provided features -- including on-line identification and authentication, real-time payment authorization, and fraud protection -- will combine to give people "a quick and efficient shopping-cart experience," the Atlanta company said.

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