Mondex International Ltd. said it has completed a global standard for Internet transactions with support from several leading electronic commerce companies.
The standard, Open Trading Protocols, focuses on the interaction between merchants and consumers and on nonmonetary aspects like invoices and receipts.
OTP, which is scheduled for formal publication in August, will join - and theoretically complement - an alphabet soup of other payment-related protocols, such as the MasterCard-Visa SET (Secure Electronic Transactions) and, in the home banking area, OFX (Open Financial Exchange) and Integrion Gold.
"The first word in OTP is 'open,' and we really mean it," said David Burdett, the London-based Mondex senior executive responsible for the project. "There is no benefit in having a proprietary solution."
Mondex and its new parent, MasterCard International Inc., launched the effort this year with AT&T Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Open Market Inc. The companies said Tuesday that 11 more were on board, including British Telecom, Cybercash, International Business Machines, Nokia, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Verifone.
The objective is a consistent experience for Internet shoppers, regardless of payment, software, or hardware choices. The standard would accommodate credit cards, Mondex, Visa Cash, and other forms of payment. Records would appear on screens uniformly and could be exported to software packages, such as Microsoft Money or Intuit's Quicken.
OTP creates "a larger, level playing field for everyone to compete and to offer consumers more choice," Mr. Burdett said. "If we can agree on a common approach, we can increase ... electronic commerce on the Net."
The protocols will be freely available to developers and users, and the process will be monitored by an independent governing body.
It is up to hardware and software vendors to put OTP in their systems. Mondex has been holding public workshops on the subject; the next is scheduled for the end of July at IBM in New York.
Mr. Burdett said he "is quietly confident" that Visa, which has been critical of Mondex's standards approach, will "join with us."
Janet Pruitt, senior vice president of electronic commerce at Visa International, said Visa intends to continue to concentrate on SET and EMV- the Europay-MasterCard-Visa standard-to promote electronic commerce and chip cards.
"OTP appears to us to be a proprietary protocol proposed by MasterCard and Mondex," she said. "Building on the foundation of SET enables rapid adoption instead of introducing a new standard or protocol."