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Q.1 Warigon is a retail company and they want to automate the payment system. Assume that you are the design engineer of that company. What are the factors that you would consider while designing the electronic payment system? [10 Marks]

Designing Electronic Payment Systems
The following factors like non technical in nature, that must be consider while designing the electronic payment system for the retail company to automate the payment system:

Privacy. A user expects to trust in a secure system; just as the telephone is a safe and private medium free of wiretaps and hackers, electronic communication must merit equal trust.

Security. A secure system verifies the identity of two-party transactions through "user authentication" and reserves flexibility to restrict information/services through access control. Tomorrow's bank robbers will need no getaway cars-just a computer terminal, the price of a telephone call, and a little ingenuity. Millions of dollars have been embezzled by computer fraud. No systems are yet fool-proof, although designers are concentrating closely on security.

Intuitive interfaces. The payment interface must be as easy to use as a telephone. Generally speaking, users value convenience more than anything.

Database integration. With home banking, for example, a customer wants to play with all his accounts. To date, separate accounts have been stored on separate databases. The challenge before banks is to tie these databases together and to allow customers access to any of them while keeping the data up-to-date and error free.

Brokers. A "network banker" -someone to broker goods and services, settle conflicts, and facilitate financial transactions electronically-must be in place.

Pricing. One fundamental issue is how to price payment system service. For example, should subsidies be used to encourage users to shift from one form of payment to another, from cash to bank payments, from paper: based to e-cash. The problem with subsidies is the potential waste of resources, as money may be· invested in systems that will not be used. Thus investment in systems not only might not be recovered but substantial ongoing operational subsidies will also be necessary. On the other hand, it must be recognized that without subsidies, it is difficult to price all services affordably .

Standards. Without standards, the welding of different payment users in different networks and different systems is impossible. Standards en at interoperability, giving users the ability to buy and receive information, regardless of which bank is managing their money. None of these hurdles are insurmountable. Most will be jumped within t next few years. These technical problems, experts hope, will be solved as technology is improved and experience is gained. The biggest question concern how customers will take to a paperless world.


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