Internet technology offers extensive ranges of services such as electronic mails, file transfers, etc., and one of the most popular services offered on the Internet is “Electronic (or e-commerce). E-commerce is becoming bigger technological wave that has changed the way by which business is being conducted.
Two main areas in which e-commerce grew significantly in recent years are Internet banking and conducting business on the Internet 1. With Internet banking, the way customers make use of banking services has changed. They do not have to go to ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) terminals or stay in-line at a bank branch to withdraw or transfer money between accounts, but simply log on to a bank’s website which provides Internet banking services including withdrawing money from the customers’ accounts. Although the customers cannot get physical cash in their hands, they are able to transfer money to electronic cards and bring them to purchase goods or services at stores. Moreover, the customers are able to pay bills or schedule monthly bill payments by using the Internet banking services. Regarding conducting business on the Internet, basically, e-commerce simulates and enhances traditional ways that people conduct business or communicate to one another into electronic manners. For example, electronic mails (e-mails) replace mailing services in that people do not have to wait overnight for delivery of letters, but only in minutes electronically. Most of the features of e-mails are similar to paper mails such as (digital) signatures of senders, times- tamps, or returned mails in case the mails cannot be received by the recipients. In addition to the time reduction, e-mails reduce the cost for document and delivery.
According to business transactions, many e-commerce websites enable their customers to browse for goods and services offered in their virtual stores remotely from the customers’ personal computers. Not only physical goods, such as books (e.g. www.amazon.com) or laptop computers (e.g. www.dell.com), are offered, but electronic goods, such as music, digital images, video clips, or electronic novels, are also available. Customers simply select desired products or services and pay for them by credit-cards or electronic cash cards. More importantly, these virtual stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Recently, e-commerce transactions can be performed on the move. The emergence of wireless communication technology offers the ability to access the Internet in order to perform e-commerce transactions through mobile devices cellular phones, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), or laptop computers. Such mobile devices are connected to the Internet via modems or wireless net- work adapters. This greatly offers convenience to users to perform e-commerce transactions from distance at any time. Performing e-commerce transactions where at least one engaging participant in an e-commerce system is a mobile user is called “Mobile Commerce” (or m-commerce). Recently, m-commerce has been receiving attention considerably and has high growth rate.
Compared to conducting e-commerce over fixed-networks, m-commerce of- fers many advantages 2 which include:
Users in a m-commerce system can access the Internet to perform e- commerce transactions through their mobile devices in real time at any place.
Mobile devices have smaller size and lower weight than personal com- puters (PCs). Thus, they can be easily brought with users to anywhere.
Mobile devices are personally used so that they can be personalized to fit the needs of particular users.
Although e-commerce is not all about fund transfer, electronic payment (or e-payment), such as credit-card payment over the Internet, is still one of the most popular e-commerce applications. In other words, e-payment is one of the crucial parts of an e-commerce transaction in that the e-commerce transaction cannot complete without it. For example, an online book store which provides both electronic and physical books to its customers must have a supporting payment system available for its customers to transfer money to it. Therefore, each customer can complete the purchase which includes goods delivery (or commitment of goods delivery) and payment with the store in one transaction. Without the payment system provided, the customers are required to perform two sessions separately: one for the goods purchase and the other for the payment transaction. In particular, the payment transaction has to be performed by transferring money to the store’s bank account directly.
E-payment is an alternative to traditional payment which has been generally performed physically by presenting a credit card to a merchant and signing on a payment slip as evidence of the payment transaction made to the merchant. As briefly described in the previous section that there are several kinds of e-payment methods, the most primitive payment method is fund transfer between bank accounts. According to this method, an e-commerce website sends an invoice to a customer via an e-mail and requests the customer to transfer the money as the payment for the requested goods or services to its bank account. After receiving the payment, the website sends the corresponding payment receipt via the customer’s e-mail and delivers the goods to the customer. It can be seen that the customer commits the purchase to the website online, but the payment is performed off-line. Later on, e-payment has been developed to fully online transactions such as credit cards, electronic checks, electronic cash, and micropayment.
The most popular type of e-payment methods is credit-card payment. Ac- cording to this method, after selecting preferred goods from an online store, a customer can make a payment via a supporting credit-card payment system provided by the store by simply filling in her credit-card number and relevant information, such as date of birth or billing address, for authentication and payment authorization purposes. Such information is transferred to the customer’s credit-card company to check for credit availability. If the request has been approved, the goods (in case of electronic goods) and corresponding receipt of payment are transferred to the customer shortly. Mostly, this kind of payment systems is operated using 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol