IBM, ICVerify to marry SSL and SET

Supporters of the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol are hoping IBM's recent agreement with CyberCash's ICVerify unit will fan the flames toward a bonfire of SET usage by merchants and banks.

IBM and CyberCash have announced they will jointly create a special version of CyberCash's NetVerify payment cassette that will be added to the next release of IBM's Payment Server, Version 1.2, which is planned for August availability. With the cassette, merchants will be able to automatically process both SET transactions and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) credit card payments, which are more commonly used at this time.

"We're trying to figure out what are all the inhibitors slowing down the adoption of SET in the marketplace," said Karl Salnoske, general manager of electronic commerce at IBM. "One of the things we found out about merchants reluctant to implement SET is that [they believe] `if I do SET, then I can't so SSL, then I turn off my customers.'"MasterCard, one of the creators of SET, likes the deal, said Art Kranzley, senior vice president of electronic commerce at MasterCard.

"We feel it's going to be a catalyst for the acceptance of SET," Kranzley said.

But initially, merchants are not confident enough to make them jump into SET feet first.

"If it's just part of the system and there's no other hassles, are we going to adopt it? Sure," said Brett Allsop, CEO of SportSite.com, an online sporting goods distributor, in California.

"A migration path will be required," agreed Cal Morrell, senior vice president of Engage games online, an Internet distributor of games and entertainment.

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