The Secure Electronic Transaction protocol will now be finalized May 31, the companies said. In January, Visa and Mastercard set April 14 as the release date for SET, which the credit card companies had originally expected to be in place last fall.
Finalizing the new protocol will mean that the two companies--as well as American Express, which also backs SET--will finally endorse use of credit cards over the Net. Visa and Mastercard, the two largest charge card firms, now warn consumers not to use their accounts on the Internet for security reasons.
Issuing version 1 of SET could give consumer purchases on the Net a major boost. However, industry analysts warn that credit card sales may not take off as quickly as many Web retailers hope.
Among the potential obstacles cited by industry analysts: