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Technology Focus: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Electronic forms of money continue to displace paper for financial transactions. Applications that process payment card funds transfers can help your enterprise cash in.

 

As the Digital Age has progressed, electronic monetary exchanges have been increasingly displacing cash. For both businesses and individual consumers, the largest contributor to this trend has been the use of the credit card. Although the credit card started out as a device to stimulate retail trade, its ubiquitous presence in commercial transactions of all kinds today makes it a virtual requirement for businesses to accept this form of payment. The proliferation of similar devices—such as debit, loyalty, stored-value, and gift cards—has extended this trend, and such cards as a class are now called "payment cards."

 

Payment-card processing applications are software that automates the acceptance of cards as money, the settlement of transactions using them, and the maintenance of data security regarding those transactions. Although this kind of software is most easily recognized in point-of-sale (POS) activity, the growing use of cards in e-commerce and other business-to-business transactions makes the ability to handle cards as a medium of exchange more important than ever.

Basic Payment Card Transactions

In the most common consumer-type transaction, credit-card processing follows a familiar pattern. The consumer slides the card through a credit-card terminal that enters the sale amount. That information is relayed electronically to the bank or other card issuer to see if the card is valid and if the account contains enough credit. The card issuer passes back an acceptance code number or a declination message. If the transaction is accepted, the card terminal prints a receipt for the consumer to sign. When the card terminal is closed out for the day, a settlement process begins in which funds from all approved transactions are transferred from the card issuer to the merchant's bank account. The actual transfer of monies will vary according to the system used, the intermediaries involved, and the policies of the card-issuing banks or other institutions.

 

This process must also adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a commercial security requirement designed to make it difficult for fraudulent cards to be honored and for card account information to be stolen and misused. The PCI DSS requires merchants, who are categorized based on the number of transactions a year they run through the system, to meet certain security requirements. In general terms, these require merchants to maintain a secure network as well as applications to transmit transaction data, encrypt and safely store cardholder data, restrict access to the data by their own employees, and regularly monitor and test their systems and procedures. Specific requirements vary according to the merchant class in which a business is enrolled, and different payment card companies and issuers may have special additional rules. (If you need information beyond this grossly simplified overview, see the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council Web site.)

 

Payment card processing applications must perform all these functions, meet all the rules, and provide many security protections for the businesses that use them. Payment card applications for the System i are certainly no exception.

 

What follows is an overview of the applications that can provide those services to enterprises that need them. Unless otherwise noted, all applications offer audit trails and reporting tools and conform to PCI DSS standards. Product descriptions are briefly summarized from Web site information and don't represent all features of each product. Product names are hyperlinked, but additional links are provided for the vendor name when the product has a Web site independent from that of the company.

Payment Card Applications for System i

ACH e-Payment

inForm Decisions, Inc.

ACH e-Payment processes payment-card transactions through Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network, an interbank payment settlement service, by receiving payment card transactions from the user company and routing them to the appropriate banks. It also enables transfers of funds between companies (or tax payments) without using payment cards, automatically debits recurring customer bills, and provides email notification of activities. It supports OS/400 V3R7M0 and later System i OS versions.

 

Authorization Engine

Settlement Engine

ISD Corporation

ISD's Authorization Engine routes any type of payment card or stored-value payment to the appropriate processing institution. The product is flexible enough to integrate with other applications or be modified. IDS maintains compliance levels for the software at the highest levels in order to earn the best rates from all major payment processors.

 

ISD's Settlement Engine transmits data to banks for settlement and reconciliation. The product can capture settlement information from databases, POS terminals, or authorization messages routed through host servers. It automatically handles card rejections and chargebacks.

 

Both products run natively under i5/OS, Linux, and IBM AIX.

 

Curbstone Card

Curbstone Corporation

Curbstone Card is a veteran product started in AS/400 days that lets System i companies use the application's payment processing, card authorization, and automated settlement features. The app offers electronic approvals within three seconds, provides real-time reporting and auditing for up to a thousand transactions a minute, and has additional certifications from selected card providers.

 

EFT/400

3X Software Ltd.

EFT/400 handles payment card transactions via Internet, telephone sales, mail order, and PIN and onboard chip transactions. It can work with multiple national currencies, multiple companies and acquirers, and any industry sector. It includes 25 APIs and optional vendor custom programming for integration with existing applications. EFT/400 also features built-in checks for the Card Security Code (CSC) and Address Verification Service (AVS), which crosschecks additional information about cards held by their providers. The product runs under OS/400 V4R5 or higher.

 

IBM WebSphere Commerce

IBM Corporation

Although it's far more than just a payment card processor, IBM's WebSphere Commerce includes WebSphere Commerce Payments, a component that handles all such transactions. WS Commerce V6, the latest version, offers plug-ins for payment cards, electronic checks, bill-me-later purchasing, COD, and credit-line purchasing. It can process partial payments, lets users set payment rules via eXtensible Markup Language (XML) files, lets customers use multiple payment methods or instructions for purchases, and can process multiple releases of an order.

 

iPOSS Integrated Point of Sale

XKS Ltd.

XKS' iPOSS is a thin-client POS system that uses real-time connection to a System i being used as a back-office server. In addition to payment card services, it also supports POS hardware such as cash drawer, thermal receipt printer, bar code scanner, and mouse. It includes software that enables integration with other System i applications, supports chip and PIN pads, and completes all transaction checks in five seconds or less.

 

JetPayi5

JetPay LLC

JetPayi5 provides a completely native i5 solution for card processing that's accessible from green-screens, APIs, or Web interfaces. The product's gateway interacts directly with major card providers, offers a back-end reporting system that resides on a dedicated Web site, and automatically handles currency conversions for a truly worldwide solution. JetPayi5 conforms to all standards and uses a 15 GB bandwidth connection for maximum transaction volume.

 

NetCredit

CGI Group, Inc.

NetCredit helps users automate selected credit processes, manage multi-tier trading-partner relationships, tie in multiple credit-sourcing channels, and integrate with the system any number of products, policies, and business procedures. In addition to payment card processing, it automates workflow management, manual credit reviews, third-party service information retrieval, and credit bureau data retrieval and analysis.

 

NovaExpress 400

CFXWorks, Inc.

NovaExpress 400 is an RPG-sourced payment card solution that directly connects to the Elavon acquisition system for global account servicing. Elavon provides end-to-end processing for all payment card, e-commerce, hosted gateway, currency conversion, and electronic check services worldwide.

 

OpenPro

OpenPro, Inc.

OpenPro is an open-source enterprise resource planning (ERP) application that runs on any hardware and with any SQL-friendly database, but it includes a major module for POS operations that incorporates a payment card transaction system. Aimed at companies that combine wholesale distribution, will call, and retail sales, OpenPro provides a payment system that also interfaces with onboard inventory, tax and accounting, distribution management, and ERP functions. OpenPro is also flexible enough to be deployed as a Software as a Service (SaaS) or Application Service Provider (ASP) application for enterprise customers.

 

PAYware Transact

VeriFone

PAYware Transact uses a Java infrastructure and runs on any platform, including the System i. Certified by all major processors, it integrates with a wide range of applications, databases, and POS systems. It can handle checks as well as cards, offers multi-threaded processing and load-balancing features, and supports TCP/IP, TCP/IP SSL, and dialup connectivity.

 

Retail Pro

Systems Technology Group

Retail Pro is tailored for retail sales only but provides a complete payment card transaction system. Geared to handle operations at multiple retail outlets, it supports multiple currencies and national languages, features an open design for integration with other apps, communicates with other apps via XML, and accesses databases with SQL. Retail Pro also supports POS and store operations, inventory management, receiving, replenishment, employee management, merchandising, and retail planning.

 

SmartVista Suite

BPC Group

BPC Group is a Russian company with an office in Nebraska. Its SmartVista Suite handles any kind of electronic transactions, including payment cards, and uses customer choice of DB2 or Oracle databases. SmartVista is compatible with System i, Linux, and UNIX boxes, as well as IBM WebSphere and Oracle Application Server. The suite offers front-end and back-office applications for handling transactions and provides optional modules for Member Service Provider/Third Party Processor (MSP/TPP) prepaid services, enhanced loyalty scheme support, and retail banking features such as funds transfer.

 

STORE – Gift Cards

STORE – Mobile POS 

Island Pacific

If you're strictly in the retail sales market, Island Pacific's STORE – Mobile POS and STORE – Gift Cards applications provide PCI-compliant processing of payment cards, and gift cards and loyalty programs, respectively. They are also integrated with Island Pacific's suite of retail store operations software.

 

tekRETAIL Suite

tekserve POS

Aimed exclusively at retail operations, tekRETAIL Suite supports the System i and provides complete POS operations functionality in addition to payment card processing. The suite includes a client-based tekRETAIL Store app that offers POS functions under Windows and a tekRETAIL Central Office component that runs on the server. The framework also handles kiosk, catalog, and e-commerce sales and can manage customer loyalty programs and coupon redemptions.

Some Final Considerations

It's not uncommon for companies to design their own card payment system, particularly if the company's operations are simple enough to focus primarily on that main function. If you go this route, there are a few additional vendors to check out.

 

BVS Tools' Get URI is an HTTP client that can handle communications between your applications and payment card, shipping, and other commercial services. It's protected by Secure Sockets Layer security and stores returned results in user choice of a physical file, stream file, or screen display.

 

Patrick Townsend & Associates' Alliance AES and nuBridges' Protect are encryption applications for System i, both of which can securely handle payment card data and give users a broad assortment of options for encryption methods that meet the PCI DSS and other standards for data protection. Both products offer key management features and varying options for encrypting other data besides that for payment cards. If you're growing your own app, you should check both of these products out as a means of handling the critical data-encryption step of card transactions.

 

Vesta Corporation's Point & Pay isn't software; it's a service that acts as a go-between for companies that need to process card transactions and the card providers. It uses the Internet, works for electronic checks as well as cards, enables Interactive Voice Response (IVR) payments by telephone, and integrates with existing apps.

 

If you need a packaged application to help you streamline and secure payment card funds transfers, one of these products should be helpful.

 

And as always when looking for products or services, be sure to check the MC Press Online Buyer's Guide.

 

 

John Ghrist

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982. He has covered the market for IBM i servers and their predecessor platforms for more than a quarter century and has attended more than 25 COMMON conferences. A former editor-in-chief with Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. He is currently CEO of John Ghrist Agency, a marketing communications firm for technology companies. You can reach him at ghrist@comcast.net.

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    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.