The financial services sector is holding back on implementing SET, the secure electronic transaction protocol standard, because it is too complicated and expensive.
According to a study by Datamonitor credit card issuers cannot justify the substantial investment required because of the limited take-up of online shopping.
Because of this Datamonitor believes the technology will not reach the mass consumer market until the end of 1999.
SET is complex because it provides different levels of security. Jolanta Pilicka electronic business marketing manager at Hewlett-Packard, which is driving the use of SET, said: ?One of the major obstacles to getting consumers and businesses to look at ecommerce seriously is the perception of security.?
IBM, which is also promoting the technology, currently runs more than 50 SET implementations worldwide. It admits the financial service sector, like many other areas, are uncertain of the market for online shopping.
?There is a lag in adoption, but I believe that [SET reaching consumers by the] end of 1999 is a bit pessimistic,? said Steve Walker electronic business consultant for IBM UK.
?As Net use grows then the market will ?pull? [for this type of service] and companies that set themselves up now with ecommerce and SET will be able to aid that pull with a ?push?,? he said.
IBM is in discussions with major players in all sectors, including financial services, to drive ecommerce forward. However technology companies cannot succeed without credit card issuers.
?It?s a vicious circle,? said Pilicka. ?If financial companies do not adopt it neither will the consumer. It needs to be driven by the likes of Visa and Mastercard for it to be fully accepted.?
Walker agreed: ?Mastercard and Visa are committed to making SET work and pressure from them will change the marketplace.? He also believes smart card vendors need to get together and produce consumers with a card they can carry to encourage acceptance of electronic payments.
Pilicka added: ?The challenging part is getting all the different companies involved to unite on a common objective.?
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