Virtual banking gets another customer

MasterCard and GTE's CyberTrust will develop an electronic certification service.

Secure Internet commerce took another step forward today with the announcement that MasterCard has joined GTE's CyberTrust project to jointly develop an electronic certification service.

Created in January, CyberTrust will provide digital certificates that allow for confidential transmission of credit card information using the set of protocols for credit and debit cards known as the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) standard.

MasterCard's support mirrors a similar deal announced earlier this week between Visa International and digital certificate provider VeriSign.

The commercial spinoff of a GTE division, CyberTrust expects to be the first to deliver certificates in tests of the SET protocol being conducted in Canberra, Australia, this spring and in New York in December. In New York alone, CyberTrust is hoping to have 100,000 consumers and 500 to 1,000 merchants participate in the trial.

The system will protect credit card information by attaching a certificate, a kind of electronic passport that verifies the sender's identity.

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