A new way to buy chips
By Paul
The eCashPad is a small, mouse-sized numeric keypad and card reader that enables users to make secure online purchases by swiping their credit card rather than sending sensitive credit card information over the Internet.

Winneronline.com describesd the system as much the same as debit card machines in retail stores: eConncet handles the back-end financial transactions rather than the merchant. After the user enters their information, the eConnect system acts as intermediary, forwarding the card holderís authorization number from the financial institution to the merchant.

The eCashPad accepts credit cards and will be accepting debit cards soon, but eConnect sees its own SmartCard as an alternative.

Customers will deposit funds onto their SmartCards via Cashmover.net for a $1 per transaction fee, then use the cards and eCashPad in tandem to negotiate payment at participating sites.

This technology is particularly relevant to the online gambling industry, and two sites have begun taking eCashPad payments, GrandmasterSports.com online casino and sportsbook and OffTrackBettingOnline.com.

The selling point of eCashPad is that rather than use encryption techniques, it relies on physical security: the user must have the card in their hand to use it. There is no financial information to hack into, as nothing is stored on the merchantís servers and the only information transmitted is a PIN number and an authorization code.

Drawbacks for the eCashPad are the pending bill in the US that would outlaw the use of credit cards for Internet gambling. Another is the wariness of credit card companies to allow their customers to transact with online casinos Ė which has opened up a window of opportunity for services like Firepay and PayPal, which have proven track records for Internet gamblers.

At the moment, most casino sites arenít able to transact using eCashPad, and the acid test will be how many online casinos sign up.

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