BOCA RATON, Fla. - MerchantOnline.com, which makes a card terminal for attachment to home PCs, has added software that makes it unnecessary for card numbers to be revealed to online merchants.

The PC Pay Agent software also protects merchants from the liability involved in storing and protecting sensitive data.

When consumers attach PC Pay swipe terminals from MerchantOnline to their home computers, they are now invited to install PC Pay Agent as well.

When a consumer makes a PC Pay transaction, the software automatically sets up a one-time-use card number that routes encrypted card data to the processing center. The processing center then decodes the data and sends an approval code to the merchant.

Tarek Kirschen, president and chief executive officer of MerchantOnline.com, said its research found that 35% of the population would not put their credit card numbers on the Internet.

"PC Pay agent is intended to significantly reduce the amount of money banks and merchants lose, by virtually eliminating fraud from both the consumer and the merchant sides," Mr. Kirschen said.

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