W3C Takes on Online Payment Standards

Oct. 22, 2015

W3C Takes on Online Payment Standards The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web, has expanded the attention it is giving online payments. Exactly one year after it launched its Web Payments Interest Group to identify and study the major problems affecting online payments, yesterday it established a Web Payments Working Group to give shape to the interest group’s work in the form of standards. The standards will revolve around streamlining the checkout process and making it more secure.

The organization, founded in 1994 and led by Tim Berners-Lee, the acknowledged inventor of the Internet, said standardized APIs will provide the foundation that enables merchants to easily offer a wide array of payment methods—including credit, debit, mobile, escrow, bitcoin and others—at a lower cost.

“The industry has looked to digital wallets as a way to improve security and usability, as well as to support marketing initiatives. And yet, users have not yet wholeheartedly embraced them,” said W3C CEO Dr. Jeff Jaffe. “We believe that one reason for this is that the digital wallet market is fragmented and providers use incompatible programming interfaces. The proposed standards from W3C will help ensure interoperability of different solutions by standardizing the programming interfaces. So when you buy something, you should have a standard way to match the payment instruments you have with the ones accepted by the merchant, in a way that integrates smoothly with the merchant’s checkout flow.”

In its charter , the Web Payments Working Group said it expects to complete its work by November 2017.