In Short Time Armenia Launches 2 E-Payment Systems


Sept 16 2009

E-commerce is a novelty in Armenia but it is gradually gaining
momentum. In the past two years Armeia has launched two e-payment
systems both oriented to Armenian Dram.

Emerging at the same time with credit cards, e-commerce experienced
a real boom due to wider internet surfing opportunities when any man
could access www from his home PC. Merely an e-commercial at first,
e-commerce began quickly evolving from a web-server used by a company
to feature its goods and services to the first order and consequently
the first internet-shop where customers paid by credit cards only. It
turned out later that credit cards are not universal – in some spheres
a credit card deal often cost more than the buy. Besides the first
payment systems were far from secure. This urged experts to develop
most various payment schemes. E-commerce is a novelty in Armenia but
it is gradually gaining momentum. In the past two years Armeia has
launched two e-payment systems both oriented to Armenian Dram.

One of them – DramCash () is based on PayCash,
admittedly the most safe and reliable payment technology of these days,
says Edward Martirossyan, technical director of Eldina, the DramCash
operating company. Launched quite recently the system allows e-payment
in drams. This is a protected network of client software known as
internet wallet. The user can download an internet wallet on his
PC or flash card free of charge from the operator site. As soon as
the software is there the system’s processing center gives the user
an individual registration account. The whole registration takes
no more than five minutes. PayCash is also applied by YandexMoney
(Russia), Cyphermint (USA), IntenetMoney (Ukraine). DramCash will
allow Armenia-based users to do shopping in internet stores, to pay
for mobile phone, internet, cable TV services in drams. The company
also provides for bill payment schemes. Martirossyan says that the
the system testing began Oct 27 2003. Since then they have attained a
universal format of cooperation with the multi-currency Yandex-Money
portals this allowing Armenian buyers to pay for Russian goods and
services in e-drams. Martirossyan says that e-dram has been made
"convertible" into any other currency of PayCash. Currently disucssed
is the technical aspect of e-dram conversion into Web-Money, Egold,

Besides Eldina has concluded a unique contract with GoldFishka, the
biggest online casino in Russia. Today there are many cyber casinos
accepting AMD but only GoldFishka pays winnings in dram. Very shortly
the company is starting to sell 2,000-, 5,000-, 10,000- and 50,000
AMD scratch-cards. Presently it is expecting the e-connection of a
number of Armenian shops.

EDram is a quite different system, says Gevorg Pogossyan, director of
NATC llc, EDram designer company. It is a unique complex of the best
features of its Western and Russian analogues. "One can use it from
any computer having internet, even in internet-cafes, while most of
its counterparts require downloading special terminals." EDram money
is absolutely virtual and noncash. The customer buys a prepaid EDram
card certifying his right to do shopping on the internet for a definite
sum. "Today we have four types of EDram cards: 5,000, 10,000, 20,000
and 50,000 AMD." Pogossyan says that the system spans a very broad
range of services. One can use it to pay one’s bills – gas, water
and electricity. Soon one will be able to use them in restaurants,
CD shops and other public facilities. NATC is presently negotiating
with the ArmenTel telecom company for the opportunity to pay online
for intracity and mobile calls. "We have a cyber exchange office on
our site where one will be able to convert his AMD into any cuber
currency (e-gold, Yandex.Money)," says Pogossyan. Besides the company
is considering cooperation with active online traders. They will
have to pay only a small fixed sum. "Armenian legislation prohibits
commercial companies to make gratis deals so we have decided to charge
symbolic 5 AMD per deal," says Pogossyan.

Comment: You have certainly noted that the above two systems have much
in common: both can convert AMD on-line, both are on similar terms
with on-line buyers and sellers. But there is also one substantial
difference: it is between DramCash "internet-wallets" and NATC
one-buy cards. A DramCash user will need an own PC or a flash card
with "wallet" software, while EDram allows its user to do shopping
from any computer – quite convenient for most Armenians whose only
www access is internet-cafe.

Thus DramCash will most probably interest home and office PC
owners. But this is not solely a matter of technical access but rather
of mentality. Experts note that Armenian e-buyers are wavering and
floundering even when the online store is round the corner. This
notwithstanding more and more e-traders from Yandex.Money are trying
to tempt Armenian internet-users with "shopping" opportunities in
Russia. They might hope that Armenian e-consumers will ultimately
"abandon" their mentality. But there is also a group of Russian e-shop
frequenters who are most probably the target of Yandex.Money. Be as it
may any direction will have a positive impact on the Armenian IT. As
for the further developments they will come with the need to revise
one or another direction.

One interesting fact – today e-commerce is considered worldwide to be
a very lucrative business – everyone can use it from everywhere. They
have even done online shopping from space! Dec 11 2001 the Moskovsky
Komsomolets informed of Russian cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and
Mikhail Turin doing shopping right from their spacecraft. They used
VISA cards to transfer virtual money to an e-shop to buy X-mas gifts
and flowers for their friends and relatives. Obviously space shopping
is not coming soon – but down here on earth let’s hope that in Armenia
e-commerce will develop earlier.

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