A California company says it has created a secure way for businesses and consumers to purchase software using credit cards directly over the Internet.

As security concerns dominate the industry, CyberSource Corp. has added Netscape Communications Corp.'s Netsite Commerce Server to its Software.net on-line distribution and information service.

The Netscape software offers encryption technology, which provides secure transaction channels, and authentication, which assures server validity.

CyberSource, a California-based distributor of software over the Internet, says the addition will enable Software.net to receive an order, obtain credit card authorization, and process billing in about 30 seconds.

Software titles available for electronic delivery can be downloaded immediately, CyberSource says. Shrink-wrapped titles will be shipped by next-day air.

The CyberSource announcement follows last October's payment systems breakthrough by First Virtual Holdings Inc., in which the Cheyenne, Wyo., company became the first to link credit cards, banks, processing agents, and the Internet.

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