October 14, 2010, 3:03 PM

A new payment service enables online shoppers to pay from their bank accounts

The offering aims to enhance the security of online transactions.

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Secure Vaults Payments, a method of online shopping designed to help consumers protect their financial information by enabling them to check out through their own banks, will now be available commercially, NACHA, The Electronic Payment Association has announced.

The move follows a pilot with several organizations, including financial services company Synovus Financial Corp. and the University of Georgia. With Secure Vault Payments, financial institutions authenticate consumers and provide businesses with immediate authorization and confirmation of payment via the Automated Clearing House, or ACH, an interbank network used for direct deposit of paychecks and other funds transfer services.

NACHA, which manages and governs the ACH electronic payments system, is offering the service through a partnership with eWise, an online payments and financial management provider. EWise is the switch operator and technology provider and oversees all sales, marketing, and implementation for Secure Vaults Payments. NACHA acts as the regulatory body to ensure the payment method follows its operating and business rules.

EWise has already started marketing the service to financial institutions, merchants, payment gateway providers, payment processors and billers.

“We are pleased to have a strong pipeline of financial institutions and merchant participants who have decided to offer SVP and who will be enabled in the coming months,” says Alex Grinberg, eWise CEO.

The University of Georgia has offered the payment method to its students since April 2008. It says use of the system has grown 16% since the start of the semester in July 2009 and that 41% of those students who use it have used it more than five times.

“Secure Vault Payments is a great solution for us,” says Lisa McCleary, bursar of the University of Georgia. “SVP is a smarter electronic payment option that lowers our risk, allows us to receive money faster, and helps us keep costly and wasteful paper out of our system.”

NACHA represents nearly 11,000 financial institutions through 18 regional payments associations and direct membership.

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