MasterCard in standards about-face - signs up for Java and Windows

MasterCard in standards about-face - signs up for Java and Windows

MasterCard is to support smart cards developed on the JavaCard platform as well as those conforming to the multi-application Multos operating system. The international payment card issuer says it is also prepared to support Microsoft's Windows powered smart card, based on member demand.

By delivering its flagship M/Chip family of credit/debit applications on all platforms, MasterCard says it is responding to the growing desire of its members to have maximum flexibility when initiating smart card programs of their own.

At the same time, MasterCard continues to stress its strong support for the Multos platform. "We remain 100% committed to Multos as MasterCard's preferred smart card operating system," says Art Kranzley, senior vice president, global e-business, MasterCard International.

He says the move to alternative operating system standards reflects growing demand for MasterCard's M/Chip credit/debit applications, which in a single software package allows banks to issue EMV-compliant MasterCard, Maestro, and Cirrus branded smart cards. To date, M/Chip has been adopted in 24 countries, on 4 continents, and MasterCard has commitments from members in another 20 countries.

Kranzley adds that MasterCard has completed the preliminary analysis to have M/Chip reside on the Windows platform and has applied for an application developer's license from Microsoft. He says M/Chip will be made available for Windows pending final security review and member demand for such services.

Microsoft yesterday singalled its intention to license the Windows for Smart Cards Toolkit source code (operating system plus development tools) and submit the code to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), in an effort to set the standard for smart card manufacturers, software developers and customers.

In a seperate initiative, Mastercard has struck an alliance with Marsh, Predicitive and Ubizen to develop a suite of services designed to help defend bank and merchant Web sites from hackers. The MasterCard Site Data Protection Service (SDP) is expected to be available globally by the fourth quarter of this year. SDP takes a proactive approach against hackers, says MasterCard, by identifying possible vulnerabilities in an acquirer's or merchant's online system and making recommendations for short- and long-term security improvements.

Mastercard has also unveiled its Secure Payment Application, a solution for securing credit and debit payments between cardholders, online merchants and members, to address the issue of cardholder authentication. An issuer-based security scheme, SPA takes advantage of MasterCard's Universal Cardholder Authentication Field (UCAF) data transport mechanism for collecting authentication information generated by issuers and cardholders. It readily integrates into existing issuer security solutions, says MasterCard, including server-based wallets and pseudo-account numbers, and accommodates payment transactions conducted via smart cards, PDAs, cell phones and other wireless devices.

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