Nordic bank offers e-payment using IBM, Microsoft

Stockholm financial services group Nordea AB has entered into agreements with IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to offer straightforward Internet-based payment systems for e-commerce sites, it said Tuesday.

Nordea corporate customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be able to choose an IBM WebSphere-based payment system or Microsoft’s BizTalk Server messaging platform, with a new plug-in called Financial Services Accelerator (FSA), said Microsoft’s Business Manager for Financial Services Global Accounts Patrick Geiger on Wednesday.

“We’re aiming to make connections between businesses a commoditized good,” Geiger said. “Companies shouldn’t have to build their own systems and pay for systems integrators to get them to work with other companies and banks. We’re selling software with all the different connectors they’ll need (to) do it easily.”

Together with Nordea, Microsoft will use FSA to establish a payment infrastructure, supported by Identrus LLC, that will support new XML (Extensible Markup Language) standards including ISO 15022, Microsoft of Redmond, Washington, said in a statement. Identrus is a private New York company that is developing identifications systems to enable e-commerce security.

Microsoft will also develop an interface for Nordea customers that will automatically translate different messaging formats, it said. The system will be protected by Identrus’ PKI (public key infrastructure) security.

FSA is due to be released later this year, probably in November, Geiger said, but customers can use a beta version, installed and supported by Microsoft, for the time being.

“The beta is obviously fully tested and ready; we’re just doing acceptance testing now before releasing it fully,” he said.

IBM is working with Nordea and standards organization Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) to build a system to manage financial transactions online, Alec Nacamuli, IBM Financial Services’ global payments executive, said Wednesday.

“We will be (running the system) and providing the infrastructure, and developing solutions and packages for customers to integrate into the system that Nordea is developing,” Nacamuli said.

IBM will work with the client, using WebSphere middleware, to set up the system and will provide ongoing support, he said.

IBM’s offering is still at the “proof of concept” stage, Nacamuli said, and he did not know when Nordea would make it available to customers.

The announcement coincides with the launch of IBM’s WebSphere Business Integration for Financial Networks product.