E-Commerce Agents and Payment Systems

E-Commerce Agents and Payment Systems

Sheng-Uei Guan (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-056-1.ch051
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An emerging outcome of the popularization of the Internet is the electronic commerce and payment systems, which present great opportunities for businesses, reduce transaction costs, and provide faster transaction time. Research has been conducted with new technologies, like mobile Internet used by business models (Baek & Hong, 2003). However, before using the Internet, it is essential to provide security in transferring monetary value over the Internet. Quite a number of protocols have been proposed for these secure payment systems, including NetBill, NetCheque, Open Market, iKP, Millicent, SET (Sherift & Serhrouchni, 1998), ECash (Brands, 1995), NetCash, CAFÉ (Mjolsnes & Michelson, 1997), EMV cards (Khu-Smith & Mitchell, 2002), and so forth. These systems are designed to meet diverse requirements, each with particular attributes. Automation and intelligence is another issue that poses challenges in the development of e-commerce. Agent technology has been incorporated into the area of e-commerce to provide automation and intelligence for the e-trade process. Agent is a software program, which is capable of accomplishing tasks autonomously on behalf of its user. Agents must provide highly trustworthy consistency and fault tolerance to avoid eavesdropping and fraud. Also, they should have roaming capability so as to extend their capabilities well beyond the limitations of owners’ computers. This article will discuss some related components under the Secure Agent Fabrication, Evolution, and Roaming (SAFER) architecture (Guan & Hua, 2003; Guan & Yang, 2004; Guan & Zhu, 2002; Ng, Guan, & Zhu, 2002; Zhu, Guan, Yang, & Ko, 2000) and propose an agent-based payment scheme for SAFER. Different types of electronic payment systems have been developed to meet their diverse requirements, which generally include integrity, authorization, confidentiality, availability, and reliability for security requirements (Asokan & Johnson, 1997). Payment systems can be classi- fied in a variety of ways according to their characteristics (Dahab & Ferreira, 1998), such as the exchange model (cash like, check like or hybrid), central authority contact (online or offline), hardware requirements (specific or general), payment amount (micropayment), and so forth. Among all the available payment schemes in the market, e-cash is one of the best in terms of security, flexibility, and full anonymity. E-cash is a cash-like online system that uses electronic coins as tokens. E-cash has its unique advantages, such as flexibility, integrity, and full anonymity that cannot be found in electronic check and credit card-based systems. It uses cryptographic techniques to provide full anonymity. The agent based payment scheme for SAFER adopts some similar principles and concepts of e-cash.

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