REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 2, 2002 — Online shopping will be fast, easy and reliable with the debut of MSN®
Wallet. The new, free service from MSN, the most popular portal on the Web, creates a more consistent checkout experience and automatically enters personal information on checkout forms when shoppers buy from participating online retailers, including OfficeMax Inc., RitzCamera.com, Blue Nile Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. MSN Wallet will give consumers a convenient and complete online shopping experience by eliminating the hassle and mistakes that often occur when retyping personal information with every online purchase.
“Consumers want online shopping to be as simple and dependable as sending e-mail,”
said Jim Barr, general manager of MSN Shopping.
“With MSN Wallet, we’re providing a new level of convenience and reliability, making MSN an even better place to shop and a terrific way for merchants to help MSN deliver a great end-to-end shopping experience.”
MSN Wallet will debut on the Ritz Interactive family of Web sites, which includes leading photo-specialty e-tailers RitzCamera.com and WolfCamera.com as well as the online marine superstore BoatersWorld.com.
Fred H. Lerner, president and CEO of Ritz Interactive, feels this new service will further enhance the online shopping experience for consumers looking for hot commodities such as digital cameras.
“It will simplify and facilitate the purchasing process, so cyber shoppers can focus on selecting the ideal products to suit their needs,”
More than a dozen retailers plan to offer the service as a checkout option in the coming months. These retailers include Kmart, OfficeMax, Blue Nile, Godiva Chocolatier, Fossil, The Sports Authority, Fogdog and Nordstrom. Merchants who use MSN Wallet to process transactions will showcase their brand name and products to millions of MSN users. In addition, by making shopping easier, MSN Wallet gives consumers an incentive to shop and return to merchants that use the service.
“We see MSN Wallet as a real win for consumers,”
said Bob Paquin, chief operating officer and chief information officer of Blue Nile.
“Not only does it provide streamlined access to a select group of premiere online merchants, it removes the burden of having to remember multiple account passwords for various merchants, simplifying the entire online shopping process.”
Consumers can sign up for the service at http://wallet.msn.com/ using a Passport account to sign in. Those with a Hotmail®
or MSN account already have Passport accounts. Other consumers can register for a free Passport account at http://www.passport.com/ by providing an e-mail address and a password. Initially available in English, MSN Wallet will soon support other languages, including German, French, Japanese and Spanish.
MSN Wallet: Built-In Security Technology
For security, all MSN Wallet payment and address information is electronically encrypted and stored in a database on servers that are located in access-controlled facilities. Many other safeguards further enhance security, including comprehensive data filtering before it enters the system and an industry-standard encryption method (triple DES) that is designed to help prevent anyone but the intended retailer from decoding and reading transmitted information.
Microsoft also announced that it plans to discontinue a separate shopping service, called Passport Express Purchase, to focus Passport on its core mission: to enable a robust, online authentication platform.
To ensure that sites and users taking advantage of Express Purchase are not adversely impacted by the conclusion of service, Microsoft will continue to run Express Purchase until March 2003, giving merchants time to get through the holiday season without needing to make changes to their site.
Because the MSN Wallet service and the Passport Express Purchase service are separate, all consumers who now use Passport Express Purchase and who want to transition to MSN Wallet will need to sign up for the new service separately. No information will be transferred between the services, and all information in existing Passport Express Purchase accounts will be destroyed after the service is shut down.
MSN attracts more than 270 million unique users worldwide per month. Globally available in 34 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and digital marketing solutions to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ . MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx .
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