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Visa, MasterCard set technology standard

Visa International and MasterCard International today announced a technical standard to secure credit purchases via the Internet.

Visa International and MasterCard International today announced a technical standard to secure credit card purchases via the Internet.

Dubbed Secure Electronic Transactions (SET), the software encrypts credit card information for consumers to ensure that their transactions are protected until the transactions electronically reach the bank, according to MasterCard officials. Merchants will be given a code to ensure that the customer is the authorized user. To discourage credit card scams, Visa and MasterCard will verify that merchants are authorized to conduct business.

The software is expected to be tested in the second quarter of 1996, according to officials. Banks are expected to offer the service via the Net in the fourth quarter of 1996.

MasterCard developed this software by working with Netscape Communications and IBM, and Visa worked with Microsoft. RSA Data Security developed the encryption technology.

The specifications for the standard will be available by mid-February for free to software developers, according to officials.