Real world security company Securicor is spending £7 million on an online shopping service which will allow users to shop online without passing credit card details to online stores.
In effect, this is the naked capitalist version of Anonymizer, the best-known service designed to enable people to browse the Web anonymously.
Securicor reckons consumers will welcome its take on anonymity because its service protect them from online fraud, as well as junk emailers.
The new division, called E-solutions, is headed by Stephen Taylor, formerly a marketing man in charge of loyalty programmes at Air Miles and Safeway. He is aware of the irony of his change of business.
In effect, Securicor has set up an online mall. People who sign up to the service give all their financial details to Securicor, and the data is stored on the company's site.
Its site will have links to participating retailers, and when a customer wants to buy something online, they go to the Securicor site where their funds are checked, and the sale is processed. Securicor then delivers the package.
Taylor says that the site has been thoroughly tested against external hacks or system overloads.
Retailers who join the scheme will pay a price based commission on each sale to Securicor. So far the company says that "several" retailers have already signed up, and that another 30 or so are on the cards. First joiners are expected to be white goods and entertainment system retailers. ®