HERNDON, Va. – “We thought maybe we wanted to stay in the loop on this one,” said Jim Blaine, president/CEO of State Employees’ CU, Raleigh, N.C., about joining Project ACTION, a NACHA-led initiative that NACHA is hoping will change the way e-commerce is conducted over the Web. Membership in Project ACTION (www.project-action.org) now stands at 36, including 12 financials. Prior to SECU joining, Southwest Corporate FCU was the only CU representative. Project ACTION shattered its goal of having 25 members by July 1. “We wanted to participate in helping set the new standards. We thought it would be a good group to be involved with,” said Blaine, who noted that the CU had to ante up $14,000 to become a member of Project ACTION. Project ACTION wants to use the tried and tested ACH network to make e-commerce safer. The concept goes like this: instead of an e-commerce vendor “pulling” a payment from a consumer, the consumer will authorize his or her selected financial provider to “push” a payment to the e-com vendor. Consumers will be able to select their financial provider from a drop-down menu on e-com sites. “An advantage of the ACH Network is the ability to process credit payments in which funds are pushed to sellers or other payment recipients,” said Elliott C. McEntee, President and Chief Executive Officer of NACHA. “Currently, other payment methods require account information to be provided to sellers, that then attempt to authenticate the buyer and pull funds from buyers’ accounts.” The group held its first meeting in May, where it defined its main objective as developing a detailed business case for a core product to support consumer-to-business payments, consumer bill payments, and business-to-business payments. The business case will include the following: * Business and technical requirements; * Requirements for ACH operating rules and business practices; * Fee structure and revenue model; * Framework for dispute resolution and chargebacks; * Enrollment requirements; * Legal framework. The target for completion of the business case is January 2002. The members have also determined that ACTION will initially focus on ACH credit payments. The next Project ACTION meeting will be held Aug. 15-16 in Portland, Oregon.

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