Secure Electronic Transaction

Secure Electronic Transaction

Secure Electronic Transaction

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Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) was a standard protocol for securing credit card transactions over insecure networks, specifically, the Internet. SET was not itself a payment system, but rather a set of security protocols and formats that enable users to employ the existing credit card payment infrastructure on an open network in a secure fashion. However, it failed to gain traction. VISA now promotes the 3-D Secure scheme.

History and development

SET was developed by SETco, led by VISA and MasterCard (and involving other companies such as GTE, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape, RSA, Safelayer --formerly SET Projects-- and VeriSign) starting in 1996. SET was based on X.509 certificates with several extensions. The first version was finalised in May 1997 and a pilot test was announced in July 1998.

SET allowed parties to cryptographically identify themselves to each other and exchange information securely. SET used a blinding algorithm that, in effect, would have let merchants substitute a certificate for a user's credit-card number. If SET were used, the merchant itself would never have had to know the credit-card numbers being sent from the buyer, which would have provided verified good payment but protected customers and credit companies from fraud.

SET was intended to become the de facto standard of payment method on the Internet between the merchants, the buyers, and the credit-card companies. Despite heavy publicity, it failed to win market share. Reasons for this...
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