PayPal has announced they are launching a way for its customers to make payments on web sites that do not accept PayPal.
They offer a downloadable software utility that is called PayPal Secure Card. The utility automatically detects when a customer visits an e-commerce checkout page, generates a unique MasterCard number, and then helps fill out the payment form. This is done through a partnership with credit card issuer MasterCard Inc.
“From a merchant’s perspective this looks like any other MasterCard transaction,” said Chris George, director of financial products for PayPal. “And it’s just another PayPal purchase to the customer.”
Secure Cards work on Windows computers running either Internet Explorer or Firefox. Users of Apple’s Safari browser have only partial access to the service for now, George said.
Secure Card has been tested by 3 million PayPal customers in the past year. Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins, one of them, tells about his experience:
You install and set up the software, and on your taskbar, you have a little PayPal icon. When you want to generate a random credit card number, you double click on it. A little “virtual credit card” pops up on your screen, complete with randomly generated MasterCard numbers, expiration date, and CVV. All payments made with the information are directly and immediately made from your existing PayPal account
The form fill seems to work decently in Internet Explorer, but if you’re a Firefox user, don’t expect it to fill out any forms. It has a Firefox plug-in that seems to do little more than really slow down the browsing experience (and I recommend removing the plug-in as soon as you install the application). It is, however, handy to have, especially for folks like me with a debit card so well worn that the CVV numbers are no longer visible.
The plug-in will be available to U.S. customers on Tuesday, November 20, 2007, with international customers to follow.