In a sign that the efforts of the Secure Remote Payment Council are gaining notice in the industry, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has joined the organization as a general member and as a member of its board of directors.

The organization, which announced its formation in October, does not plan to develop standards for Internet PIN-debit or mobile transactions but instead will promote a set of best practices for payments companies involved in those types of initiatives (see story).

“As we have put together our game plan for the organization, Wal-Mart became very interested in what we were doing,” says Paul Tomasofsky, the council’s president and executive director. “To have them become a part of the decision-making process is tremendous.”

The council also added eBillme, an online bill-payment and e-commerce processor; and Net1Virtual Card Inc., a mobile-payments services provider, as associate members. Blyth Inc., a home-products retailer, also joined as a council member.

“Improving the security, safety and convenience of debit payments by consumers in the e-commerce and mobile-payments channels is very important to Wal-Mart,” Mike Cook, Wal-Mart vice president and assistant treasurer, says in a statement.

Tomasofsky is surprised the council has garnered so much attention in such a short period. The organization also has fielded inquiries from interested parties in Canada and Europe. “There are really no boundaries to this,” he says.

The council has two “working groups” addressing different aspects of its mission statement. The association is devoted to the “growth, development, and market adoption of Internet-based debit transactions and mobile-payment methods that meet or exceed the security standards for PIN-debit card-present payments,” that mission statement reads.

The “knowledge” group is focusing on gathering educational information, such fraud statistics, to present to any company interested in the council’s efforts, Tomasofsky says.

Another council group is focusing on the business and technical aspects of remote payments to “determine what things need to be improved in the current infrastructure,” Tomasofsky adds.

The council next week hopes to make more significant connections at the Electronic Transactions Association trade show in Las Vegas.

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