September 23, 2002, 12:00 AM

MasterCard unveils its security application

MasterCard International today launched its e-commerce security system, SecureCode, which it says is designed to prevent unauthorized use of credit and debit cards and reduce the number of online purchases that get charged back to merchants.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

MasterCard International today launched its e-commerce security system, SecureCode, which it says is designed to prevent unauthorized use of credit and debit cards and reduce the number of online purchases that get charged back to merchants. SecureCode operates with a pop-up window in which online consumers enter a personal code issued to them by their card-issuing bank to authenticate their credit card transactions.

 

MasterCard says the SecureCode system is expected to counter a trend of increased chargebacks coinciding with the growth of Internet commerce. "As the Internet has grown, so have the number of chargebacks," Bruce Rutherford, vice president of e-business and emerging technologies for MasterCard, tells InternetRetailer.com. "84% of chargebacks are due to cardholders saying they didn’t make the purchase, and that’s what SecureCode is designed to work around."

 

MasterCard, Purchase, NY, is working in association with credit card processors VeriSign Inc. and WorldPay, which are preparing their merchant processing clients to accept card transactions authenticated through SecureCode. VeriSign, with 75,000 merchant clients, says it processes 25% of all consumer online transactions in the United States; WorldPay processes transactions for 17,000 merchants in 115 countries. MasterCard said it expects to announce additional agreements with processors.

 

MasterCard said that merchants that accept SecureCode transactions will benefit from a MasterCard rules change that shifts liability away from retailers and onto card issuers for transactions that get charged back after cardholders deny they made a recorded purchase. SecureCode uses MasterCard’s Universal Cardholder Authentication Field, which collects, transmits and presents cardholder authentication information. To channel this information, merchants must install a plug-in application that integrates with their retail web pages. The consumer codes themselves are managed by card issuers and not shared with merchants.

 

"This is equivalent to a signed sales receipt in the physical world and will help reduce incidences of online fraud, while improving both consumer and merchant confidence for orders placed and accepted over the Internet," MasterCard said.

 

Card issuers will provide passwords to consumers to use when completing such a transaction. If the customer does not use the password or fails to remember it, the transaction will be rejected.

 

Rutherford says MasterCard is currently implementing SecureCode with U.S.-based credit card issuers, adding that "they have committed" to the program even though they have yet to publicly announce their participation in it. He adds that more than 1,000 merchants in Spain and South Africa have already begun participating in the SecureCode system.

 

The SecureCode hidden field requirements for merchants will add no time delays to the transaction processing and the plug-in application will have minimal impacts which are more than compensated for in terms of the underlying opportunities to reduce fraud and chargeback costs.

 

MasterCard rival Visa International, Foster City, CA, launched a similar program earlier this month called Visa Authenticated Payment.

 

Both the MasterCard and the Visa authentication systems operate with authentication software provided by Arcot Systems Inc.

 

 

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