next week are expected to
announce a new entity to promote their jointly developed Secure Electronic
Transactions protocol, CNET's NEWS.COM has learned.
A source close to one of the card associations said the new body, referred to as SetCo, is likely to add other card brands that have endorsed SET
1.0. The protocol is designed to make credit card purchases over the Internet
safe. American Express, Diners Club, Novus, and Air Travel Card have endorsed SET.
Both Visa and MasterCard declined to comment on plans for SetCo, but the
source said an announcement may come as soon as next week, after the
relevant parties sign a memorandum of understanding.
SetCo also will develop future versions of SET, which is likely to expand to
cover smart cards and additional debit card options.
SetCo also will oversee a testing program to assure that software products
comply with SET. Companies that pass muster will win the right
to use the new SET logo, under a branding program SetCo will administer.
Web sites that support SET transactions also are eligible for the logo.
SET is one of a half dozen standards efforts in the Internet commerce area.
American Express, for example, is spearheading an online catalog protocol called Open Buying on the Internet; Microsoft, Intuit, and CheckFree have created Open Financial
Exchange (OFX), a protocol for home banking and bill-paying on the Net.
But SET differs from other e-commerce specifications in that it addresses
the "trust" relationships between buyers, merchants, and financial
institutions. The other e-commerce protocols mainly address technical and
formatting issues, the traditional stuff of technical standards.
SetCo membership will be open to card companies, but several "technology
advisers" will be invited as non-voting affiliates. That parallels the
roles that computer firms, including Microsoft, IBM, CyberCash, Netscape and others played in
developing SET 1.0.