This also uses digital certificates, which also come from Certificate Authorities, but here another organization known as a proxy merchant is also involved. The idea is that buyers send their, suitably encrypted, credit card details to the proxy merchant which performs the same identity check as for SSL. Assuming everything is in order this proxy merchant then sends an authorization to the seller, but withholds the credit card details. From the point of view of the seller they have the go ahead to complete the transaction, they will get paid, while the actual details of the credit card are, to them, irrelevant. All they need to know is that the card is genuine. It is therefore only the proxy merchant which can match credit card details to name and addresses.
This might seem like transferring the problem rather than solving it as there will still exist a computer file holding extremely valuable credit card details, but the safety here lies in the quantity of those files. Instead of potentially millions of websites each holding credit card details there will be just a small number where the security can be guaranteed; something that cannot always be said of other websites. By concentrating the information together in this way it can be guarded by organizations where security is of paramount concern and taken care of by experts. In fact the latest boast from the companies involved with SET is that their information is protected by encryption routines stronger than those used by the military to protect nuclear launch codes. (So if SET security is ever broken the world might have more to worry about than a banking scandal.)
Given that SET is being backed by MasterCard, Visa and American Express not to mention Microsoft and Netscape the chances are high that this will be adopted throughout the Internet. As such any company who wants to trade off their website has very little choice but to take an interest.
Finally, for anyone wondering where on the computer all these digital certificates will be stored the answer is simple: in a ewallet. These are now included as standard in the latest versions of all the Browsers.
Now that what might best be described as the theory has been dealt with it becomes time to consider more practical matters. Exactly how can anyone set up their own e-commerce website? The first, and easiest, way of setting up an e-commerce website is to throw money at it. Outside consultants can be brought in or companies specializing in e-commerce solutions can be approached. Then just sit back and let it happen. By far the easiest it might be, but it is also the most expensive. In which case what follows is for people who lack such deep pockets. People, in other words, who have to do it themselves,. Here the first point to consider is payment. How will a company be paid for goods bought off a website?