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Solution Reduces Chargebacks to Online Merchants,

Protects Consumer Account Data and Trims Deployment Costs

for Member Financial Institutions and Merchants 



Purchase, N.Y., May 31, 2001 -- MasterCard International today announced its Secure Payment Application™ (SPA), an innovative solution for securing credit and debit payments between cardholders, online merchants and members, to address the issue of cardholder authentication.  SPA is one of the latest additions to MasterCard’s suite of Internet security solutions that address the protection of all parties involved in an online transaction – the cardholder, the merchant, the card issuer and the merchant acquirer.


SPA is an issuer-based security scheme that takes advantage of MasterCard's Universal Cardholder Authentication Field (UCAF) infrastructure.  UCAF is a universal, multipurpose data transport mechanism implemented by merchants and acquirers for collecting authentication information generated by issuers and cardholders. Once collected, this information is communicated to the issuer in the payment authorization request and provides explicit evidence that the transaction was originated by a legitimate cardholder. UCAF supports a variety of issuer security and authentication approaches including SPA, smart cards and more.


Based on an open specification, SPA allows for easier implementation because it readily integrates into existing issuer security solutions, including server-based wallets and pseudo-account numbers. SPA minimizes integration and deployment costs for merchants, acquirers and issuers. SPA is designed to be flexible, accommodating payment transactions conducted via smart cards, PDAs, cell phones and other wireless devices.  SPA provides the merchant with the equivalent of a cardholder signature, thus providing assurance that the issuer has verified the cardholder prior to completion of the payment transaction.


“Confirming a cardholder’s identity is essential to the success of making secure payment transactions in card-not-present environments,” said Art Kranzley, senior vice president,

Global e-Business, MasterCard International.  “With the introduction of SPA, MasterCard is delivering a mechanism that will reduce chargebacks by authenticating the cardholder’s identity, thus increasing overall confidence in online payments.”


How SPA Works

Initial deployment of SPA will be through server-based e-wallets, which automatically fill out order forms of online merchants. SPA adds a significant security component by including a unique cardholder authentication value for each transaction that can be verified by the issuer during payment authorization. Merchants and acquirers are simply responsible for collecting and passing this cardholder authentication value, and including it along with other payment information, at the time of authorization.


In addition, SPA does not impact the cardholder shopping experience.  SPA has no impact on the amount of time required to buy online or to process a payment authorization. Also, SPA does not require the use of public key infrastructure (PKI), thus minimizing implementation impacts for all parties involved.


MasterCard adds SPA to its full security continuum available for protecting Internet payments.  This allows members and merchants to customize the proper security solutions for their markets and customers. This continuum ranges from SSL (Secure Socket Layer), as a minimum level of security, through the Secure Electronic Transaction™ (SET) protocol, which offers the strongest form of online encryption and authentication.


MasterCard plans to incorporate SPA into existing issuer security solutions and is currently in discussions with leading technology firms, such as Arcot Systems, Inc., The Brodia Group,  Orbiscom, Inc., Trintech, and others to develop SPA systems for members.


“MasterCard’s SPA is leading the way for the global upgrade of payment systems to support the new security requirements of electronic and mobile commerce. We’re proud to join forces with MasterCard to provide SPA integration for our industry standard electronic wallet,” said Brodia CEO Ron Martinez.


“MasterCard’s introduction of SPA clearly demonstrates its commitment to providing authenticated Internet payments for both consumers and e-tailers alike,” said Aidan McManus, executive vice-president of operations and technology, Orbiscom, Inc.  “We are delighted to be working with MasterCard and providing our technical expertise to help make it happen.  We look forward to jointly deploying SPA through our Controlled Payment Number technology and creating the ultimate secure and authenticated solution.”


MasterCard International is a leader in global e-business.  The association is focused on providing its member financial institutions with customized, meaningful global e-business solutions that connect them to customers in both the online and offline worlds.  Through its investment in industry innovation, participation in standards development and business alliances,


MasterCard is staying in the forefront of technology integration to enable anytime, anywhere payments across multiple channels and various devices.  MasterCard’s global e-business solutions include Internet security, smart cards, mobile commerce/wireless, e-wallets, business to business electronic commerce, and numerous emerging technologies.


About MasterCard International

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1.7 billion MasterCardâ, Cirrusâ and Maestroâ logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories.  MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds.  MasterCard’s award-winning Pricelessâ advertising campaign is now seen in 81 countries and in more than 36 languages, giving the MasterCard brand reach and scope unrivaled by any competitor in the industry. With more than 21 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card.  In 2000, gross dollar volume exceeded US$857 billion.  MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at




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31 May 2001 06:35:14 PM

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