BA deals boost Visa and MasterCard online security schemes

MasterCard and Visa’s online authentication schemes received a boost this week when it was announced that British Airways had...

MasterCard and Visa’s online authentication schemes received a boost this week when it was announced that British Airways had signed up to both initiatives to improve security on its e-commerce site.


Verified by Visa and SecureCode, which promise to slash online fraud by as much as 80% by authenticating cardholders with a password, were launched in early 2002, but take-up from card issuers and merchants was slow for the first 18 months.


Fears over the cost of implementing the technology and doubts about interoperability between the schemes initally held companies back, despite claims that retailers could save more than £55m a year by signing up.


However, the deals, which are both global, reflect the increasing interest in the initiatives, which promise to ensure the retailers that sign up are not liable for chargebacks when the cardholder denies authorising the purchase.


There are now 5,500 retailers live with SecureCode in the UK and six card issuers, while 5,000 retailers and six issuers have signed up to Verified by Visa. In addition, both schemes can be run side by side without extra investment in software, the credit card firms said.


The increasing popularity of the internet for booking flights has highlighted the need for extra online security, said Simon Parks Smith, head of e-commerce at BA.


“Online bookings now account for 46% of our shorthaul, non-premium business in the UK and this figure will keep rising,” he said.


“The sheer volume of tickets processed via the internet means that we’re constantly striving to have the best security possible. We want to keep our customers using the web and encourage e-commerce newcomers to book with us in this way.”


E-commerce software supplier CyberSource and multi-currency acquisition services Streamline International, worked with BA on both implementations.

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