Magazine article American Banker

New Visa Invoice Intended to Boost XML as Standard

Magazine article American Banker

New Visa Invoice Intended to Boost XML as Standard

Article excerpt

A budding communication language is expected to receive an important vote of support today from Visa International, which plans to introduce a specification it hopes will become a standard for business-to-business electronic commerce.

The technology, known as XML, for eXtensible Markup Language, has not won widespread acceptance but is often touted as the standard that would make it easier for companies to communicate with one another on-line. A number of banks are already using XML in their data-sharing initiatives, but no industry standard has emerged.

Visa hopes to change that.

The San Francisco-based bank card association has developed a standard invoice around XML that businesses can use to track their purchasing and corporate card transactions.

For the past two months it has been testing the Visa Global Invoice Specification with the Thistle Group, a hotel chain in the United Kingdom, and Hertz Europe, and Visa plans to expand the pilot this year in Europe and the United States.

The business-to-business market has been heating up as banks and technology companies try to exploit the enormous opportunity in corporate transactions. GE Capital recently invested $7.5 million in Global Commerce Systems Inc., which specializes in Web business-to-business exchanges.

On Jan. 31 GE Capital announced an on-line management program, GE Business Marketplace, that supports travel, purchasing, and fleet vehicle corporate charge cards. And next week Biztro, a Web company targeting the business-to-business market, is to announce its start-up.

By some estimates the business-to-business market is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2003. Card companies, however, have some catching up to do.

According to a study done in December by GartnerGroup of Stamford, Conn., only 9% of payments made between companies involve cards. …

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