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CyberCash cashes in with Netscape

Netscape and CyberCash work together to accelerate secure credit card transactions over the Net.

CyberCash's (CYCH) stock price saw a 20 percent increase today after the Internet payments company announced that Netscape Communications (NSCP) will incorporate CyberCash's micropayments scheme, CyberCoin, into Netscape's Web browser and electronic commerce software.

CyberCash stock surged 7 points to close at 40-1/2, while Netscape's gained 3/4 of a point to 42-1/2 a share.

In an alliance both sides hailed as strategic, Netscape will bundle CyberCoin, designed for making payments over the Net of 25 cents to $10, in both its LivePayment server software for online payment and in future versions of Navigator. The service will be supported by institutions including First Union Bank, First USA Paymentech, Michigan National Bank, and First Data.

Netscape also will include electronic checks, a service CyberCash intends to launch by year's end, in future Netscape commerce offerings.

CyberCash also markets a "wallet," software for organizing a user's credit card numbers, digital IDs, and electronic receipts into a single place on the Net. Netscape has announced plans for a wallet, but declined to say whether it will use the CyberCash wallet.

For CyberCash, the nonexclusive deal will get its micropayment software in front of millions of users of Netscape Navigator. CyberCash will be paid a fee on each transaction.

"We want to be in the service business, not software," said Denis Yaro, CyberCash executive vice president of products and operations. "This is our first tight partnership with a key software vendor to integrate our services into its software."

The deal--not surprising, given both companies' recent strategic focuses--expands CyberCash's potential customer base, as well as Netscape's reach into the business market with its client-server software.

Netscape and CyberCash will also work together to accelerate the deployment of the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) credit card payment protocol.

"By enabling more payment options for businesses and consumers, Netscape and CyberCash will help expand the range of goods and services available in the electronic marketplace," said Srivats Sampath, vice president for server, tools, and applications at Netscape.

"Combined with Netscape's customer base, CyberCoin is filling a need in the marketplace for small payment processing," added Yaro of CyberCash.