Fast-growing portal Webline is pulling out of Origo's Unipass digital certificate system because it says it is too expensive.
Webline says it is not prepared to pay the five-figure fee that Origo is demanding, saying it is not worthwhile because the service has only been taken up by 0.1 per cent of its users.
Assureweb is also in negotiations but says it will not pay the current asking price.
Origo, which is a non-profit-making business owned by a group of life offices, started negotiating charges of up to £100,000 with portals in January. Webline was the first to take up the service and has been followed by Cofunds and IFA Engine.
Webline is also concerned that there is no guarantee that Unipass will not be bought out by a business seeking to make a profit or by a single provider, portal or IFA. But Origo says there is little likelihood of this happening as Unipass will only work if it has the support of the industry.
Webline managing director Paul Holland says: “It is disappointing that the commercial realities of the contract with Origo mean that we cannot stay on board.”
Origo Secure Internet Services general manager Garry Miller says: “It is true that there is no guarantee but why would a single provider or portal buy the service? The ethos behind Origo would collapse if a single company owned it.
“I am disappointed that Webline are not coming on board. It is unfortunate for us both that their strategic fit is not close enough.”
Financial Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “For Unipass to succeed, everyone has to feel happy about adopting it. It is worrying that the fastest-growing portal in recent years has not been able to find an acceptable solution.”