VISA posts security specs; AMEX, Microsoft ink deal

VISA posts security specs; AMEX, Microsoft ink deal

Visa International has posted its software specifications for safeguarding credit card purchases over open networks on its Expo Home page on the Web. Addressed at www/, Net surfers can access the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) specification (jointly developed by Visa and MasterCard International) which "can be used by any party to develop software to enable secure Internet transactions", according to Visa.

SET is said to be based on specially developed encryption technology from RSA Data Security which allows the identification of the cardholder making the purchase over the Internet.

In other news related to credit card security, American Express has inked a deal with Microsoft to licence worldwide its secure card payment software. On-line transactions made with any American Express charge card or Optima credit card will use Microsoft's version of the Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) protocol. SET has been designed by both MasterCard and Visa International, with support from a number of industry heavyweights.

As a result of the deal, American Express card members will be able to make secure purchases of goods or services over the Internet. Currently, most Internet users send credit card numbers without any security over the Net. The two companies said they expect the system to be implemented in the second half of 1996, following the availability of Microsoft's payment processing and security software.

"We've been building strong business relationships with a number of technology companies who have been developing the SET protocol and providing the software that will support it," said David Bauman, vice-president and general manager of Interactive Services at American Express.

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