Give them credit for moxie: Two-year-old Echarge is promising that when its new online payment system debuts next quarter, "the use of Visa and MasterCard online will become obsolete." Instead of repeatedly keying in credit-card numbers that can be intercepted by hackers, consumers would use digital certificates to pay for purchases. Payments would be made by clicking an Echarge icon displayed on participating sites. What's more, Echarge claims it will undercut the merchant processing fee charged by the credit card companies, which typically runs 1% to 2%.

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