My initial reaction to this post is that I sure hope you're doing all this stuff over an SSL connection. Without SSL, the password protection doesn't reallt even matter.
Sure, htaccess is great, but it's not secure* unless you're on an SSL connection. I use htaccess with SSL all the time.
I guess I just can't stress SSL enough. Especially when dealing with credit cards, SSL is a MUST
* Exception: Digest Authentication, which probably won't work for you in many cases.
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