Commerce Direct International Inc. announced it is offering a secure credit card payment system for the Internet.

The system pairs the company's encryption technology with a new Microsoft product, ActiveX, to allow for on-line payments through a merchant's World Wide Web site. Officials at the Canadian firm say their system is designed to make shopping on the Internet easier and more practical.

About six merchants have licensed the system, according to Nicholas Clark, Commerce Direct's marketing director.

Mr. Clark said his company's product "sits in between the customer and the client, offering an outsourcing service bureau solution for on-line commerce."

The target market is software companies. Because the technology offers piracy protection, Mr. Clark said, software vendors need not fear that customers who download their products can duplicate them.

"Our initial focus has been on companies whose software can be electronically downloaded, but our system is really applicable to anyone who wants to buy and sell any product using electronic commerce," Mr. Clark said.

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