Payment guaranteed: WorldPay's new guarantee scheme

WorldPay, the e-payment enabler, announces a money back guarantee to consumers when online transactions go awry. The scheme is said to be revolutionary in easing consumer distrust about the reliability of online shopping.

WorldPay, an online payment and e-commerce solutions provider announced recently a payment guarantee for buying and selling across the Internet.

The guarantee promises no less than a full-refund to online customers when a transaction goes awry.

WorldPay believes the guarantee is a natural extension of its role as online payment enabler.

"We knew that the role we have taken on in relation to accepting merchants and qualifying merchants to obtain online payment gave us a position of trust and responsibility," said Nick Ogden, WorldPay's chairman and chief executive. "We wanted to take what we believe to be a responsible position in relation to Internet transactions."

The guarantee begins to work as soon as an online purchaser files a claim submission form with WorldPay.

WorldPay requests addtional information about the transaction from the vendor and make refunds accordingly.

The scheme promises money back to consumers whose online purchases are either not delivered or delivered incorrectly, or when the products do not perform the functions that they are supposed to.

Ogden believes the guarantee will be a revolutionary step forward for online commerce as it addresses some of the key issues of customer service that electronic shoppers are most concerned about.

Claim per transaction is capped at approximately S$650, and the service is completely free from the consumer's end.

Businesses who provide the guarantee over their sites, however, will have to pay a charge of approximately S$45 and 4% per transaction.

WorldPay believes the guarantee has a strong selling point with online merchants as it provides a key differentiator from competitors.

So far, the take up rate has been encouraging, according to Ogden.

Nearly 20% of businesses that have signed up with WorldPay's payment program since the company made the guarantee available have taken up the guarantee scheme.

WorldPay was founded in 1993 as SuperNet Group, a research development group. It began fiddling with payment systems in 1995 when Barclay Bank comissioned the company to build an online shopping mall called Barclay Square.

By 1996, it was conducting trials of multi-currency payment systems and by 1998, the company sold off the rest of its services to PsiNet and began focusing on providing payment and e-commerce solutions.

Its first broadbased, commercial payment products, WorldDirect and WorldAccount, were launched in 1999.

According to Ogden, about 7000 sites around the world today subscribe to its payment solutions, and 600-700 more sign on every month.

"We take a global view of financial risk in relation to e-commerce activity," said Ogden. "And I'd suggest that what we have is as good a view as anybody else's on the way that global risk works, or e-commerce, that's probably why all the banks partner with us, because we have that perspective."