SET foot-dragging by Visa

Rohit Khare (
Fri, 10 Jan 1997 10:53:24 -0500

SET has turned out to be one of the real boondoggles of the year. I say
this mainly because most of the obstacles have been self-inflicted politics
rather than technical. Sure, there's a lot of boneheaded technology and
extravagantly difficult engineering, but an open, competiive process would
have products out there by now.... RK

January 9, 1997 6:00 PM ET

Visa in no hurry to rush SET tests
By Jim Kerstetter

Visa International Inc. and MasterCard
Inc., although partnered for the sake of an
specification, have vastly different views
of where that
technology stands.

A Visa USA official in Foster City, Calif.,
this week
downplayed the near-completion of the SET
Electronic Transaction) specification for
commerce on
the Internet that MasterCard officials
discussed last week.

In fact, Visa is striking a tone that's as
conservative as
MasterCard's is aggressive, advising
consumers to
avoid using their credit cards on the
Internet until the
SET specification is completed and a
process for SET-enabled software is

"We believe that the card holder and the
merchant have
the best opportunity for a secure
transaction with a full
SET environment," said Stephanie
Keller-Bottom, vice
president of electronic commerce for Visa
USA. "We
don't think that's there yet."

That's not to say Visa isn't involved in
SET testing of its
own, and Keller-Bottom said Visa wants to
see the
spec finished as soon as possible. She
however, that rushing SET to consumers
could produce
mistakes that ultimately slow the
development of
Internet commerce.

Keller-Bottom said Visa is running
compatibility tests of
SET-enabled applications in an internal
Several interoperability tests with some of
member banks are also planned for the near
although Keller-Bottom would not name them.

Unlike MasterCard, which is relying on
third parties
such as the Open Group for interoperability
Visa will manage its interoperability
projects, she said.
Visa also is looking for ways to pre-load
into a SET transaction.

There's no rush to SET standardization,
said, and there's no need to commit to a
timeline for
interoperability testing.

"When we know our time frames, we will be
communicating them to all the parties," she

Last week, MasterCard officials said they
expect to
begin interoperability testing of competing
products by the end of the month. They also
expect a
final version of SET to be printed by June.