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Visa, MasterCard to Work on Net Payment System

Leaving home without your credit card may not be a major problem in the near future.

Visa International and MasterCard International have agreed to team up on a solution that would enable secure credit card transactions over the Net.

If successful, the team effort could speed up widespread acceptance of electronic commerce, say industry analysts. Previously, the two credit card giants had been working on separate efforts.

Visa had earlier teamed up with Microsoft and more than 20,000 member banks to create a system called Secure Transaction Technology. Rival MasterCard had been working with Netscape Communications Corporation and was planning to use security technology called Secure Socket Layer. MasterCard currently has 22,000 member banks.

The two companies are expected to use pieces of both the Netscape and the Microsoft efforts in order to create a solution that will secure data.

The decision to work on a security solution together will pay off two ways, analysts say. It will speed the creation of a viable solution and lend credibility to the concept of online commerce in consumers' minds.