SIGNAL HILL, Calif. - Electracash has introduced Signature Safe, a new online form of payment that allows users to sign a webpage check with their computer mouse or touchpad to make a purchase on a site.
"It's a neat way to get the consumer involved with approval process, a great additional authorization method and provides a method of fraud control as well," Electracash Director of Marketing Richard Cornejo told AVN Online.
The new payment option is not like an ACH transaction, as the online check functions as though a consumer wrote an actual check to a business. The purchaser must provide proper ID and checking account information.
"What it really prevents is 'friendly fraud,' which is when somebody does something and decides they're not going to pay for it," Cornejo said. "We can go back to these people and say, 'We know you did this.' It also helps prevent outright fraud because of the type of info required to complete the transaction. There's a database it's run against to help validate it, which makes it a much cleaner operation."
The process is very visual and simple, Cornejo told AVN Online.
"[The database] makes it clear an authorized transaction is going to take place and in the final step, they get a picture of the actual check, which they can print out as a receipt," Cornejo said. "It gets charged against a checking account like another check and allows the consumer and the merchant to both feel very secure."
"Another nice thing is we know it's much faster with a check than ACH and if there are concerns with a particular purchase, there's a notification system with banks," he added.
Signature Safe provides more information to the consumer on the nature of the purchase and the seller, according to Electracash CEO Lee Falls.
"When you do ACH or a credit card, the consumer gets a statement with some cryptic line on there -- there's only room for 10 to 16 characters maybe," Falls told AVN Online. "But there's lot of white space available on the check, so we can fill in all the blanks -- the date and time of purchase, the merchant phone number and the merchant address. All that stuff we can stick down on the memo section of the check."
The new process is already working well for webmasters, who report a 15-20 percent increase in sales.
"It's been very positive for all sorts of businesses, both services offering tangible products and intangible," Cornejo said. "It's great for webcam sites, because one of things, obviously, is you're paying models so much a minute and once you establish a payroll pattern it allows the consumer to purchase more time."
Electracash said the new process reduces charge-backs and returns because the payments are considered real checks, not ACH payments. The company is also developing a credit-card process using Signature Safe in a similar manner to the "sign" credit card process.
"There are two sides of it," Falls said. "There's more information for consumers to help them trace a purchase and the second thing is the merchant's protected as well. We can trace the time and date of purchase."
It's not as though ACH transactions will be completely replaced by Signature Safe. Electracash sees the new service as an additional option to enhance an e-commerce site's appeal to consumers.
"ACH is a great vehicle, but it was originally created for payroll, social security checks and things like that," Cornejo said. "It became a means for people to debit an account to make a purchase, especially on the Internet. But having transactions back in the check world is really back where it belongs. It provides more control."