Say what you will about banks - and believe me I've rarely been polite after receiving my third charge in a month - but they do seem to be getting on SMEs' side at last.
CRN has been reporting on the growing instances of credit-card fraud and card-not-present fraud for years.
One recurring complaint from the channel and business community has been that banks, the government and the police have been lackadaisical in committing to finding a solution.
It is all very well for the government to encourage UK plc to get more active on the web, with schemes such as UK Online for Business, but it also has a part to play in making the web a safer place for business transactions.
At the moment, the government is effectively asking businesses to walk into the dodgiest bar in town carrying a briefcase full of cash, wearing a neon sign advertising the fact, and keeping their fingers crossed that no one steals their money.
The usual excuse from the government and police has been a lack of funding and experts capable of dealing with IT crimes.
A report by the e-commerce lobby group EURIM and think-tank IPPR stated: "The total funding available to the National High-Tech Crime Unit (including [funding] for supporting Computer Crime Units) is less than the individual electronic security and investigation budgets of most major high-street banks."
Facing a lack of funding and a growing problem, the government and police have, it seems, been waiting for the private sector to figure out its own solution. Finally, Barclays has stepped forward.
It is trialling a new consumer card reader that combines a small stand-alone device developed by nCipher, Barclays OneSmart chip and PIN cards, and MasterCard's online SecureCode e-commerce security.
Although the bank has stressed this is only a six-month trial for consumers, the implications for SMEs and the channel are huge.
Clamping down on online fraud means safe transactions and more efficient supply chains. It opens up a route to conduct business and gain customers that should ultimately lead to greater business growth.
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