Secure purchasing on the Internet is a step closer now that Visa EU has announced the launch of a major European pilot scheme for secure electronic commerce.
Based on the secure electronic transaction (Set) standard agreed by both Visa and Mastercard in February, Visa claims the scheme will allow payment of credit card transactions to be made securely over open computer networks using encryption technology.
The pilot project will involve 38 European banks in 16 countries. UK banks involved in the scheme include Abbey National, Barclays, Lloyds, TSB and Nat West. In a phased launch, some of the banks will offer secure electronic commerce within six months, with other members rolling out their programmes shortly after. A full commercial roll-out of the scheme is expected to begin in Q1 1998.
As the scheme gets under way, European banks will begin signing Visa cardholders and merchants, including resellers that wish to trade over the Internet. Participating cardholders will be able to buy goods and services from Internet merchant sites across the globe using software which incorporates Set specifications.
Hans van der Velde, president of Visa EU, said: 'Since Set was first published as a draft last February, we have received more than 3,000 suggestions from 76 countries, many of which have been incorporated into the specification.
Set is now robust enough for the single worldwide market offered by the Net and other networks.'
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