A German payment scheme that enables consumers to pay for Web purchases through their Internet-banking sites plans to offer additional services for merchants, including verifying the age of consumers and identifying false or dummy bank accounts, CardLine Global sister publication Cards&Payments has learned. The giropay scheme, owned by more than 1,500 cooperative and savings banks in Germany along with the German Postbank, could, for example, help Web merchants selling adult or other restricted content verify their customers are not underage. The services are part of a plan by giropay GmbH to attract more merchants and offer stiffer competition for credit cards at the checkout page of German Web-shopping sites. The scheme also hopes to expand outside of Germany. Giropay, like competing online bank-payment schemes in the Netherlands and Austria, deducts the purchase amounts from consumers' bank accounts and credits merchant accounts via credit transfers. The merchants generally get a faster guarantee of payment and receive their funds sooner than if the consumer pays with a credit card. Still, giropay has been slow to take off, recruiting just 500 merchants since launching in early 2006 and logging only 2 million transactions during 2007. By contrast, the iDEAL scheme launched by the major Dutch banks in late 2005 had signed up 7,500 merchants and recorded just under 15 million transactions last year. But Darius Metzner, a giropay executive, tells Cards&Payments that such nonbank Internet payment schemes as PayPal and ClickandBuy enable consumers to recharge their accounts via giropay, which means more than 10,000 Web merchants accept giropay, at least indirectly. And the fact giropay has integrated more than 1,000 banks into its payment service gives it an advantage over other national online-banking schemes in expanding to Web merchants outside of their borders, Metzner says.

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