Visa unveils online security initiative in Australasia

Visa unveils online security initiative in Australasia

Thirteen banks in Australia and New Zealand are taking part in pilot programs initiated by Visa International that will enable banks and retailers to exchange digital certificates to authenticate cardholders' identities.

In less than two years, all online Visa transactions will be protected by SSL (secure sockets layer) technology, which will the institutions to exchange digital certificates, under the plan.

Visa International has set April 2003 as the deadline for all Visa-acquiring banks -- that is, the bank with which an online seller banks -- to adopt Visa Authenticated Payment, a security initiative devised by Visa to authenticate online visa payments.

Visa Australia-New Zealand electronic commerce manager Jackie Brian says Visa Authenticated Payment will protect consumers while shopping online, because the bank which issued their Visa card will authenticate their identity and notify the merchant that the buyer is legitimate. "A cardholder will be able to be authenticated by their bank in the virtual world as readily as they can be in face-to-face transactions."

The online verification process will involve both the bank which issues the Visa card and the acquiring bank, Brian says. "The issuing bank needs to authenticate the cardholder and to authenticate them each time they make a transaction, while the role of the acquiring bank is to enable the merchant."

Interest has been high, Brian says. The ANZ Bank is one of the 13 institutions that will take part.

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