SET; standards vs. collusion

Mark Baker (
Wed, 03 Jun 1998 14:16:13 +0000

I remember a while back, Rohit mentioned a concern of his about
the blurred distinction between the acts of a standards setting
body, and the acts of a group of corporations (presumably in
an oligopolistic position - though not necesarily - it would
just be easier with fewer participants) conspiring to give
themselves advantages that were normally unattainable.

This really got me thinking, and I've been keeping a look out
for examples ever since.

I always thought that SET - the Secure Electronic Transactions
"standard" developed by Mastercard and Visa - sounded a little
suspect. I think I've found the proof;

> Danish Payment Systems (known as PBS) of Denmark now
> makes SET mandatory for all affiliated Web shops, following
> a 30 percent rise in disputed Internet charges in the first
> quarter of this year. Each dispute, or so-called
> chargeback, costs up to $75 to process.
> "We are telling the merchants that if they don't use SET,
> they are doing so at their own risk," said Erik Nystrup, a
> vice president at PBS, whose IBM-powered SET payment
> gateway and certificate management server went live in
> March and costs about $15 million to install and configure.


Mark Baker, CTO, Beduin Communications Corp.
Ottawa, CANADA