Electronic Clearing House Inc. has announced an Internet offering for credit card merchants.

The service, ECHOnline, provides retailers with a low-cost method for accepting credit card orders over the Internet's World Wide Web. It is to be available for trials this month.

The California-based processor, known as Echo, will deliver the capability through Internet service providers that host Web servers.

"ECHOnline provides merchants with real-time credit card authorizations and payment via Echo's processing service in a secure manner," said Larry Thomas, Echo senior vice president and chief technology officer.

For security purposes, the service incorporates address verification and relies on the secure sockets layer standard for transmitting cardholder information.

Echo said the only required investments by a merchant are its home page and order forms, an Internet connection, and a computer for communications and E-mail.

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