E-commerce suffers setback

Standardisation on online electronic commerce has suffered a setback as two of the major credit card companies decide to delay the implementation of new technology.

The future of the Mastercard and Visa-backed Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) was in doubt after both companies decided not to introduce applications based on the standard on November 15. This was to be the official end date for all pilot tests of the specification.

SET has been in the planning stage for some time now and banks and other financial institutions have been slow to implement the technology despite widespread industry acceptance of the standard. The trial using the 0.0 specification of SET is to continue for at least an extra three months. According to reports from the US, the timing of the implementation was criticised as conflicting with the forthcoming holiday season.

VISA and Mastercard are also joining American Express in setting up SETCo, an independent organisation to manage the standard and to concentrate on crucial encryption technology.

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