July 23, 2001, 12:00 AM

Digital signatures secure ATM card payments on the Net, NACHA says

A test of 598 web-based purchases showed that payment by debit card over the Internet is as secure and fast as debit card payment at a bricks-and-mortar store’s point of sale, the National Automated Clearing House Association reports.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

A test of 598 web-based purchases showed that payment by debit card over the Internet is as secure and fast as debit card payment at a bricks-and-mortar store’s point of sale, the Washington, D.C.-based National Automated Clearing House Association reported today.

NACHA today released the results of its Internet Secure ATM Payments Pilot that ended April 13. The pilot tested whether digital signatures for web purchases were as secure as transactions completed with personal identification numbers in stores.

"The success of the Internet Secure ATM Payments Pilot shows that digital signature technology can be used to secure transactions because the signature is transported through an EFT network and validated by the issuing bank," said Elliott C. McEntee, president and CEO of NACHA..

NACHA says the digitally signed transactions were validated 100% of the time, and the average response time for authorizing a transaction was 6-8 seconds. NACHA also says the pilot withstood attempts to compromise security and commit fraud.

Because transaction security and authentication are comparable to PIN-based debits at the point-of-sale, Internet merchants are provided with "card present" equivalent transactions that are more difficult to repudiate.

In the pilot, participants acting as consumers made purchases at a web site using debit cards. Instead of using a PIN, the consumer digitally signed an electronic payment request. The encrypted payment request was then sent through the STAR electronic payments network, and the consumer`s account was debited in real-time.

"To further the growth of e-commerce, the issue of security has to be satisfied for consumers. According to a survey recently commissioned by STAR, that`s one reason that two-thirds of online sales are canceled before consumers reach the checkout," said Ronald V. Congemi, president of Star Systems. "And, even those who do shop online limit their purchases because of security concerns. That is the reason we are very enthusiastic about our support of the successful digital signature technology. The flexibility and security of this authentication method make it a highly attractive solution for financial institutions, retailers and consumers alike."

 

 

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