Imagine this: Someone surfing the Web in the United States stumbles on a shoe store from a small Italian town. Instead of struggling through descriptions written in Italian and prices listed in lira, the Web site is in English, the prices are in dollars, and a credit card transaction is automatically processed in the shopper's currency, even at the merchant's bank in Rome.

A new company, Planet Payment, is working to make shopping at online merchants from other countries as easy as if the merchant were in the next state.

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