On the security side, rather than sending along all the credit card details, the browser will generate a one-time payment token that will avoid leaving your credit card number in countless databases around the world.
Numerous efforts to modernize the payment system have failed to take off. And this one could fizzle, too, if online merchants, web browsers or consumers fail to adopt the new standard.
The new standard will also face competition from the Amazons and PayPals of the world, as well as from the credit card networks, all of which want to be the primary destination for payments, rather than just one option.
But payment analysts are hopeful about the new effort because it will not require consumers or merchants to use a new method of payment. Instead it will be equally open to any existing card or payment app, and it will channel them into a single place that most consumers already use â the web browser â where everything can be stored and used.
âInstead of simplifying the world, we have been fragmenting it into a million apps,â said Eric Shea, a payments consultant at Kurt Salmon Digital. âIf we can get back to that single integrated solution that everyone has on their phone and their desktop, that is the way to move forward and get adoption.â
Dave Birch, a consultant who has been working on electronic payments for over two decades, said the web browser stood the best chance of providing a unified and more secure portal for payments.
âThereâs a convergence going on,â said Mr. Birch, who currently works for Consult Hyperion. âIn the future you will have one experience â it wonât matter if you are at the store or on the phone. It will pop up on your phone, you will put your thumb on it and you will be done.â
The W3C project represents a challenge to PayPal and Amazon, the current giants of online payments. Both have gained business and fees with their more streamlined checkout processes.
Neither company has participated in the current W3C effort and they are likely to continue to provide an alternative to customers who donât want to enter their details into their browser.
But the W3C has managed to bring in about 40 of the biggest players in online commerce, including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and American Express as well as Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent.
All met last week in Portugal to put the finishing touches on the specifications that they will introduce on different time frames to users around the world.
In the version that Google released, when customers shopping at participating merchants hit the buy button, they are given a drop-down menu of their stored shipping addresses and credit cards.
The customer can click on the address and card they want to use, enter the three-digit security code on the card and hit âpay now.â Other browser companies may choose to use a fingerprint instead of the security code.
âWe wanted to remove what we jokingly call the Nascar effect of checkout, where you see five or seven logos for the different cards and payment methods you can use,â said Zach Koch, the top Google executive on the project. âThis is really fast, where a user can say, âTap, tap, buy.ââ
The fees from transactions will still go to existing financial institutions like credit card companies and banks, unless customers choose a new online payment method like ApplePay or SamsungPay, which take a piece of each transaction.
But the bigger goal behind the W3C project is to create a standard, seamless and secure way to pay for things electronically in a future that will most likely include virtual reality stores, chat-based transactions and machines making payments to other machines (an autonomous car paying for a parking spot, for instance).
The standard will also make it easy to include new payment methods like Bitcoin or the Chinese payment provider Tencent.
âThis involves quite radical changes to the way people think about paymentsâ said Ian Jacobs, the W3C staff member leading the effort. âAs a standards body it is our job to be sure it is an open playing field.â
The need to create a better way to pay for things online was evident from the webâs beginnings in the 1990s, Mr. Berners-Lee said. At some of the earliest meetings of the W3C, which he founded, there were discussions about creating a way to pay for things online that didnât require people to send credit card details over the internet.
The failure to come up with a standard and secure way to do this led to the hodgepodge of payment screens consumers encounter today. It also made an opening for PayPal, which created a way for shoppers to pay on different sites using a single password.
Mr. Birch said the main hurdle to accomplishing more seamless payments in the past was online merchants, who did not want to give up control over any part of the checkout process.
But merchants have expressed increasing frustration with the high rate of abandoned online transactions and the frequency of credit card fraud.
More than half of online purchases now happen on mobile phones, but Shopify has said that only 40 percent of the customers who start filling a shopping cart online finish their transaction.
Shopify, which manages the online stores and checkout processes for 300,000 merchants, has been closely involved with the W3C effort and is planning to immediately offer the new standard to its merchants, as is Groupon.
âWe are betting a lot on it,â said Jason Normore, the director of engineering at Shopify. âEven though it cuts out a piece of our offering, it makes commerce better for everyone.â
Apple will be one of the most interesting players to watch, given that it has both the Safari browser, which is taking part in the W3C effort, and Apple Pay, which could be seen as a competing offering.
In the new operating system that Apple released last week, it is possible, for the first time, to shop online using the companyâs browser, Safari, and check out with Apple Pay. After hitting âPay With Apple Pay,â the customer is asked to provide a fingerprint on their phone and the transaction is complete.
The W3C standard will provide a similar experience on any browser â on a computer or phone â but will also allow customers to choose from any credit card or payment method they have entered into their browser.
Apple has so far been a part of the W3C group writing the standards, which will allow it to integrate non-Apple Pay choices into its browser.
Mr. Berners-Lee said he hoped that more standardized payments would open up new types of online commerce that arenât possible now. He has long been interested in micro-payments that would allow newspapers or small producers of content to be paid a few cents at a time, which isnât possible in a world with only credit cards.
âDifferent things call for different payments,â he said. âIf they are all interoperable you can separate the market for goods being sold from the payment back end.â