MasterCard Unveils Digital Wallet - InformationWeek

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MasterCard Unveils Digital Wallet

MasterCard International has entered the smart-card arena, rolling out a digital wallet designed to securely identify online shoppers and reduce fraud. The chip card, which MasterCard will offer to its member banks, is based on Trintech's Payware eIssuer system. Consumers would plug it into their computers and type in a personal identification number, and online purchases would then automatically be charged to the card.

Credit-card fraud is a growing concern for online merchants, who end up eating most of the cost, but chip cards introduced earlier by American Express and Visa have yet to catch on with consumers. "Although late to the game, MasterCard hasn't missed much," says Avivah Litan, a Gartner Group senior analyst. "While chip-based security solutions offer the most robust protection for transactions, so far U.S. consumers have not used them, as they require all parties to a transaction--E-merchants, card issuers, and consumers--to modify their systems and processes, and that's a tall order that nobody is ready to take on."

Gartner estimates that 16% of E-retailing credit-card payments will involve smart cards by 2006, when more than half of PCs will come configured with smart-card readers.

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