Visa Launches E-Commerce Security Initiatives

Credit card giant Visa International has announced a pair of global e-commerce initiatives to offer tighter security measures for Internet consumers and reduce consumer-merchant online transaction disputes by as much as 50 percent.

According to the company, the first security initiative will reduce the risk of unauthorized credit card use, while the second will establish improved security standards and practices for online merchants. Visa says its credit cards account for over 50 percent of all Internet transactions — a number it says is growing dramatically.

“Visa is absolutely committed to helping the Web reach its full potential as a new channel for commerce,” said Visa International CEO Malcom Williamson.

Europe First

Visa said it would roll out the first phase of the initiative, the payment authentication component, on Monday in the European Union marketplace. The system will be unveiled in the United States later this summer. According to the company, Visa’s Latin American and Caribbean regions have also endorsed the model.

The company said its 3-Domain payment authentication model provides options to authenticate payment online, protect the privacy of transmissions, and ensure that data in transmissions remains unchanged. It will work with new payment products and channels, such as chip cards and personal digital assistants, Visa said. The company will also work to ensure that regional solutions are globally accepted.

Merchant Tools

The second phase of the company’s security initiative, called the Global Data Security Program, will be rolled out later this year. It will include a series of standards for e-commerce transactions and a self-certification tool to help merchants evaluate and improve the security of their Web sites.

Visa also said that it would provide links from its Web site to approved vendors who offer technology to upgrade merchant sites.

Security Key Concern

Visa is not the only company concerned with online security. Both the public and private sectors have keyed in on credit card misuse and Internet fraud as major impediments to the growth of Internet-related commerce.

The National Consumer League logged over 7,000 complaints on its Web page last year, many of them having to do with unauthorized credit card use and consumer-merchant disputes involving a credit card transaction.

Visa, as the world’s largest credit card company, was involved in many of those disputes. The company says that its one billion credit cards account for $1.5 trillion (US$) in consumer spending and that the figure will rise to $3 trillion by 2004.

It took the company 25 years to reach the $1.5 trillion mark, and will only take four to reach the next $1.5 trillion if it meets expectations. Internet transactions will spur much of the growth, Visa says.

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