Joe Rampy of The Psymbiont Group recently wrote an article on this topic, which is in
the current issue of CLIP, an e-zine sponsored and published by Compaq http://www.compaq.com/clip/techno/971215/index.html.
The article includes many links on this subject.
In Ramp's opinion, "The subject
of micropayments is inextricably intertwined with retail level electronic payment systems
and instantaneous fulfillment. The most widely known micropayment system is the CyberCoins
portion of the CyberCash service. However, there are at least a half dozen other
micropayment systems being pitched. Right now, the reality is pretty limited to CyberCash
(www.cybercash.com) and DigiCash (US licensee is
Mark Twain Bank).
Ross Stapleton-Gray [firstname.lastname@example.org] recommends checking out iBill, http://www.ibill.com/. They have a service called Web900,
which is great for selling content or access to a controlled area on a site, and if you're
charging a fixed price. There are no setup charges, as long as your selling price matches
one of their set of pre-selected fixed prices. iBill takes a 20% cut and sends you a check
directly, so there's no merchant account or other banking involvement.
Eldon Sarte says, "It makes it easy to offer it as an option in one's mix of
payment methods. You may not want to bank on it as the sole method for accepting payment,
but since it doesn't cost anything to set up (and assuming that the 20% commission is an
acceptable cut), it doesn't hurt to have it in the mix."
Stapleton-Gray adds, "In addition, one of iBill's variations was pretty clever:
your customers dial a 900 number, and are given a token (some numeric value) which allows
them to complete their transaction on your site. The billing happens on their phone bill.
This will be great if your customers are mostly individuals or small businesses, although
large companies might not be able to purchase this way."