RealTime IT News

Visa Offers Electronic Wallet Service to European Banks

[London, ENGLAND] Visa International announced Tuesday an electronic wallet service that will enable its issuing banks in Europe to provide secure authentication services to their cardholders.

The aim is to cut down on fraud -- a major problem in all credit card usage -- as well as to build consumer confidence in electronic commerce.

"By providing a server-based wallet service, Visa is ensuring that all of our members, from the smallest to the largest, will have access to an easy-to-implement, cost effective solution for providing authentication services to cardholders," said Jon Prideaux, executive vice president, Virtual Visa.

The new service will cost banks US $50,000 to enroll, together with an annual fee of $20,000, plus payments on a per usage basis.

Visa's wallet system uses the so-called Three Domain Model which allows banks to determine how cardholders and merchants become authenticated, including the selection of chip technology, digital certificates, and passwords. To enable this flexibility, Europe is introducing a common standard called SET 1.0 Secure Electronic Transaction.

First to use the Visa electronic wallet service will be Bankgesellschaft Berlin. Hans-Juergen Torkler, managing director of its card service said the choice for the bank was very straightforward.

"We are committed to providing our cardholders a high level of Internet security -- and the 3-Domain SET model is the only secure solution at this point in time. Using Visa's services means that we can make this happen sooner rather than later, and also meet our own internal costing requirements," said Torkler.

The Visa electronic wallet lets cardholders use their wallet from any access device, including PDAs and mobile phones, because it stores the security software on a server rather than on the user's PC.

Experts believe there will be a huge surge in the use of consumer e-commerce as soon as users become completely confident of using online payment systems.