Visa is urging banks and online merchants to roll out secure electronic transfer (SET) programs to help combat Internet fraud.
The international payment cards group found that while Internet related sales only account for one per cent of its #463 billion annual European Union turnover, they also account for a staggering 47 per cent of disputes.
With online shopping looking certain to continue to rise and rise in popularity, Visa is concerned that without a means of eliminating these disputes at the transaction level then the number of disputed credit card statements will also snowball.
Though the disputes are usually for small amounts, the cost of dealing with each dispute uses significant resources.
Combined with digital certificates, SET is a means of authenticating the parties at both ends of an electronic transaction. Despite extensive trials a final working version has yet to emerge with many merchants opting instead for SSL (secure sockets layer). Although SSL encrypts the transacted information, the identity of either the merchant or consumer isn?t authenticated.
?SET is the only option,? said Sandra Alzetta, vice president of ecommerce at Visa EU. ?It is the only way of confirming the merchant is who it says it is and the consumer is who they say they are.?
Alzetta believes Visa must be at the forefront of the campaign for SET and will continue the work its is doing with 115 banks in 19 different countries to encourage them to role out the SET program they are currently trialling.
?Visa?s role in life is to make shopping on the Internet as safe as it is on the high street. SET provides that level of security,? she said.
Alzetta knows this will not happen overnight, but combined with governments? recognition of digital signatures and online merchants use of SET then dispute-free online shopping will soon be a reality.
In the meantime, Visa?s advice to consumers is if they are at all uncertain of the merchant?s identity or the security of the site then they should ?go elsewhere.?
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