St George fires up e-commerce

St George fires up e-commerce

By Alicia Camphuisen

Australian financial institution St George Bank has continued its move into online transactions, by taking a $2.5 million stake in South Australian e-commerce firm Ctel Technologies.

St George's investment represents a 12 per cent slice of Ctel, which develops and distributes telephone and Internet payment solutions.

The investment will expedite Ctel's development plans and allow it to "implement new products a lot faster", said chief executive officer Alan Scott.

"We plan to launch a range of new products in the next six months. We also aim to become a global technology company over the next six to 10 months."

Among these technologies Ctel wants to launch is fraud detection, which is the company's approach to the online risk merchants face with customer transactions.

Scott also said that the investment would give Ctel a springboard into the Asian market, its next target.

St George currently provides payment authorisation and transaction services to Ctel's clients, who include Australian utility companies Boral Energy, and SA Water.

The bank's stake in Ctel is a strategic part of its e-commerce strategy that aims to increase its product base, said St George managing director Ed O'Neal.

These products include Ctel's online payment solution RevenueStream, and its WEBMaster Web development toolkit.

Ctel's solutions process more than $100 million customer transactions nationally each year. RevenueStream has data collection and reconciliation functions, and provides a complete turnkey e-commerce solution that incorporates credit card payments, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and the online payment system BPay.

St George's e-commerce strategy has focused on customer transactions since its launch last May. In July last year, St George estimated that three percent of its customers used online banking.

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