Tellan Software

Tellan Software was a leading supplier of PC-based electronic payment solutions for online commerce, businesses that employed PCs as electronic cash registers, mail order companies, home-based businesses and international enterprises that sought to consolidate payment applications into a centralized payment platform.

Tellan Software created what was at the time a groundbreaking platform, WebAuthorize that had direct connectivity with VirtualNet, the original standards-based online commerce gateway service that was provided by Vital Processing Services. WebAuthorize facilitated all payment transactions from any merchant with Internet access to VirtualNet. Transactions were processed directly through VirtualNet using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Internet security protocol.

Virtual storefronts and real retail points of sale, as well as all different kinds of “non-here-and-now” sales transactions, were able to use the online world as a safe transport for most major payment processing. Normal online transaction response times were just a few seconds, something that allowed businesses to realize leased-line functionality from an inexpensive online connection. WebAuthorize connected merchants directly to VirtualNet, providing more savings as third-party gateways were removed.

Tellan Software CEO Donald Neff declared that the company was the original one to certify an SSL application in connection to VirtualNet. “This represents a significant milestone and a major shift in the direction towards the Internet being used as the transport for all payment transactions,” he said at the time. “It is a complete solution for high-transaction, volume merchants who require fast response times.”

WebAuthorize, with its intuitive interface, was a multiple-user, multiple-merchant payment server that managed all of the payment needs of a company. All transactions were encrypted using SSL. WebAuthorize was additionally a cost-saving answer for Commerce Service Providers that hosted payment processing for several types of merchants. Businesses were able to edit, browse and manage their transaction payments through Windows applications or other browser-based client software commonly available. Windows-based personal computers could have right of entry to VirtualNet with WebAuthorize. By the mid1990′s, Tellan Software had developed MacAuthorize 2.0, which allowed Apple Macintosh users the same benefits of the PC version previously released to merchants.

In the late 1990′s, Tellan Software was chosen by the First American Financial Corporation – a leading provider of information and real estate financial services – to partake in what then was a newly designed payment program. First American was the originator as the one company that accepted credit cards in the title insurance industry. Paymentech, a leading bankcard processor, facilitated the actual program that employed Tellan Software.

Once this program was implemented, major credit cards were used to pay for items such as title insurance, notary services, escrow and various other fees, including protection plans for homes. In the original stage of what was a nationwide credit card acceptance release, more than a hundred First American Title Insurance centers in Northern California used Tellan’s PC Authorize in order to sustain credit card payment processing.

Tellan Software, headquartered in San Jose, California, was a privately held corporation founded in the late 1970′s that gained global recognition in the early 1990′s. CyberCash, Inc., an online payment service for e-commerce with headquarters in Reston, Virginia, bought the private company, Tellan Software Inc., in the late 1990′s. CyberCash declared that it made the purchase in order to consolidate its position in the payment software market, from physical points of sale machines to integrated enterprise payment systems.

CyberCash’s focus remained on providing software for consumers and merchants to process credit card payments, which included the Tellan Software they had previously purchased. In the mid-1990′s, the company proposed RFC 1898, CyberCash Credit Card Protocol Version 0.8., which included elements of the Tellan Software they had acquired.

On January 1, 2000, CyberCash became a victim of the Y2K computer infection, which caused double system recording of credit card payments.

CyberCash filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early March of 2001. The company’s name and assets were bought by VeriSign a few months later. PayPal then bought VeriSign’s payment services, which included Cybercash and its Tellan Software.