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PNC, Industry.Net do e-commerce

Industry.Net partners with Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank to add online financial transactions to its Web mall for industrial and distribution companies.

Industry.Net has partnered with Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank to add online financial transactions to its Web mall for industrial and distribution companies.

Industry.Net, a service of Nets Incorporated, has formed a five-year alliance with PNC Bank to provide multiple payment and financing options for electronic transactions in Industry.Net's Online Marketplace. The system under development will allow payments by credit cards, purchasing cards, automated clearing house transactions, electronic data interchange, and electronic funds transfers. The partners are working on a pilot project and expect that various elements of the online payment system will go live throughout next year.

The partnership is Industry.Net's first move toward doing transactions, as opposed to publishing information, on the Net. In PNC, it has picked a savvy partner with a customer list in smokestack America much like Industry.Net's own customer base.

Nor is this PNC's first electronic banking initiative. For businesses, it is active in electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions and has worked with Visa International on several electronic payments efforts.

On the consumer side, PNC lets Intuit's Quicken and Microsoft's Money personal finance software users do electronic banking. The bank also is one of 15 bank partners in IBM's Integron Financial Network initiative, a company created to bring online banking to consumers.

The pilot project will also include the creation of interfaces so that Industry.Net payments can exchange information with existing accounts payable and accounts receivable systems.

"This alliance has the potential of offering the first 'total' solution in business-to-business electronic commerce," said Anthony Carfang, a consultant and partner with Chicago-based Treasury Strategies.

"Our strategy is to focus on the entire electronic relationship that is formed when a buyer indicates interest to a seller, and payments and clearing are certainly a critical component," Jim Manzi, chairman, president, and CEO of Nets Incorporated, said in a statement.

For security, the partnership will use certified firewalls and Web site technologies, standards-based cryptography, secured messaging, application edits and controls, and user authentication. Buyers and sellers will use digital certificates to authenticate their identities before making any transactions. The companies also will support industry-standard security protocols, such as the SET credit card protocols, in their final form.

Industry.Net is a service of Nets Incorporated, a company formed in July when Industry.Net bought AT&T's New Media Services business unit. Manzi, a former CEO of Lotus Development, joined the firm early this year.

PNC Bank is one of the nation's largest financial services companies, with assets of $72 billion as of the end of June. The agreement permits PNC Bank to package and cross-sell other financial services to Industry.Net customers. For example, the bank will establish a financial services center within the Industry.Net Online Marketplace.