Consumer Payment Card News

MasterCard – Concentric Network SET Alliance

Concentric Network Corporation and MasterCard announced an agreement Tuesday to provide cardholders with ‘Internet Access Kits’ that includes pre-installed SET software. The kit includes the latest edition of ‘Netscape Navigator’ pre-loaded with SET-compliant electronic wallet software and pre-configured dial-up access to over 300 Concentric Internet access points in the U.S. and Canada. MasterCard will offer kits through and 800 number and Concentric will offer round-the-clock customer support.

Concentric Network Corporation, a leading provider of value-added IP-based network services, today announced an agreement with MasterCard International to furnish cardholders with Internet access kits that include pre-installed Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) software. Cardholders who use the Concentric Network access kits will be able to participate in MasterCard’s SET-based pilots launching in 1997. When SET becomes widely available, consumers will be able to make purchases at SET-compliant merchants on the Internet.

Concentric Network will work with MasterCard member banks to offer cardholders a package of software and services including Internet access and the ability to make electronic purchases under the SET security standard. SET is an open industry standard for safeguarding payment-card purchases made over open networks such as the Internet. MasterCard has been one of the leaders in the development of the protocol, which uses software, digital certificates and encryption technology to provide a high level of security during electronic transactions.

The Concentric Network access kit contains the latest version of the Netscape(TM) Navigator browser software and is pre-loaded with SET-compliant electronic wallet software that identifies the cardholder and encrypts transactions. The network access kit is pre-configured for easy dial-up access to over 300 local access points in the United States and Canada.

“The Internet is clearly a major force in the future of commerce, and our alliance with MasterCard positions us as a serious player in the electronic commerce marketplace,” said Henry R. Nothhaft, president and CEO of Concentric Network. “Our superior network and virtual private networking capabilities, combined with MasterCard’s leadership role in the financial community and in the creation of SET, represent a major alliance for the advancement of net commerce.”

As part of the program, MasterCard member banks who wish to participate in SET-based electronic commerce pilots can turn to Concentric Network to provide cardholders with turnkey browser fulfillment services. Cardholders will be able to order SET-capable browser software seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day by calling a toll-free number. Concentric Network also provides cardholders convenient, toll-free, round the clock customer support.

“MasterCard believes that the future of money lies in secure electronic commerce,” said Steve Mott, senior vice president of electronic commerce/new ventures for MasterCard. “One key to growing the electronic marketplace is giving customers secure and simple payment solutions. The Concentric Network kit provides a seamless, user-friendly way for consumers to confidently make purchases on the Internet.”

MasterCard chose Concentric Network to participate in the SET-program because of Concentric Network’s experience in developing high-quality, tailored networking solutions for corporate partners. Concentric Network has designed and successfully implemented custom networking solutions for companies such as Acer America, Intuit (Quicken Financial Network), Hewlett-Packard, and WebTV Networks that enable these corporations to bring many of their consumers on-line to conduct business.

As part of the SET-compatible electronic commerce pilots, Concentric Network will also be working closely with MasterCard and its member banks to develop tailored programs to encourage cardholders to participate in electronic commerce initiatives. Concentric Network offers member banks and merchants Web hosting services from two U.S. data centers and low-cost, high-capacity Internet data access circuits.

About Concentric Network

For corporations who need tailored, cost-effective networking solutions, Concentric Network Corporation, a leading national network service provider, offers customers guaranteed high-speed performance over a customized private network. Concentric Network, a privately held company that has been operational since 1994, is a market leader in providing high-performance, secure, cost-effective, and reliable custom virtual private network solutions for the enterprise-to-consumer market (the ConCenterprise market).

Concentric Network is now leveraging this success by offering similar custom services to the enterprise-to-employees and enterprise-to-suppliers market (the Enterprise market). Demonstrating its ability to react quickly to market and technology changes, the company offers its customers a network architecture, as well as network deployment and service options, that cost-effectively support a wide range of applications for both enterprise and consumer end users. The state-of-the-art Concentric network, based on SuperPOPs linked by an ATM backbone, features low fixed latency and adaptive call processing.

The company is headquartered in Cupertino, Calif. For more information, access the Web site at

About MasterCard

MasterCard International, a payments company with one of the world’s most recognized brands, is dedicated to helping more than 23,000 financial institutions around the world offer consumers a variety of payment options. MasterCard remains focused on helping shape the future of money by expanding acceptance of its global brands (MasterCard(C), Maestro(C) and Cirrus(C), the world’s largest ATM network) and maintaining reliable, secure networks facilitating global value exchange. MasterCard has nearly 380 million credit and debit cards that are accepted at more than 13 million acceptance locations worldwide.

In 1996, gross dollar volume generated exceeded $550 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at

Banks interested in finding out more about Concentric Network services can contact James Rector, director of business development, at 408-342-2806 or [email protected]

For detailed information on the SET protocol, visit MasterCard’s World Wide Web site at or contact MasterCard’s Electronic Commerce group at [email protected]

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