Feb 072010
UPC-A barcode
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BUSINESSES don’t let 13-year-olds pay for purchases with a promise. At least they didn’t before last week.

A new payment option for anyone without a credit card or a debit card, no matter how young, has just become available. It’s initially offered by FooPets and Puzzle Pirates, online game companies that are business partners of Kwedit.com, a start-up based in Mountain View, Calif.

Minors as well as adults can buy items in the games with a “Kwedit Promise,” which can be paid off later in a number of ways — with a credit or debit card, for example, or with cash sent in a mailer that Kwedit supplies.

But here’s an entirely new payment option: A user can print out a barcode and head to a 7-Eleven store, which will accept cash, scan the code and notify Kwedit that payment has been made. In the next three months, a Kwedit logo will join those for credit cards and other payment methods on the doors of all 7-Elevens, a company spokesman says.

As game purveyors, Kwedit’s current partners sell virtual goods whose marginal cost is virtually zero, so there’s no risk of real financial loss if the promise is not repaid. But by offering Kwedit’s service, the game publishers capitalize on the most frictionless form of sales: buy now, pay later.

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