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Traditional business practices combined with computer, information and communication technologies is the basis of E-Commerce. This combination is not new and can be referenced as far back as the 1960's when large private networks developed Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) installations and banks implemented Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) processes.

Today however, E-Commerce is no longer the exclusive domain of these large organizations or private networks. The open network Internet and particularly the World Wide Web not only present new commercial potential for large organizations, but also provide a viable entry point for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into E-Commerce opportunities.

The last 5 years has seen a tremendous growth of E-Commerce as more and more users have joined the Internet network. The marketplace has expanded, attracting more businesses, which in turn has driven the development of better, more stable and secure technologies to facilitate E-Commerce.

A stable, secure environment for exchanging mission-critical and monetary information only draws more businesses and consumers to the Internet and ensures the growth pattern continues. All these related factors contribute to a continued E-Commerce marketplace that will continue to grow well into the new millennium.

Although there are other methods of paying online, credit cards dominate. Jupiter Communications, a New York-based electronic commerce research firm, estimated that credit card payments accounted for 88% of the $1.25 billion in on-line transaction revenue in 1996. And even though they predict that smart cards, electronic cash and electronic cheques will eat in to this share, they still forecast that credit cards will make up over 50% of payments into the new millennium.

What is the definition of E-Commerce?

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