GTE, MasterCard move electronic commerce forward; competing banks in Taiwan collaborate for world's first implementation of secureelectronic transaction interoperability

NEEDHAM, Mass. GTE and MasterCard International opened the next chapter in the development of secure electronic commerce when ChinaTrust Commercial Bank and Citibank Taiwan completed the worlds first successful test of Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)interoperability between banks. With GTE as its exclusive provider of MasterCard-branded, SET-compliant digital certificates, MasterCard expects that cardholders of seven member banks in Taiwan will be able to enjoy greater security, privacy and protection for online purchases by the end of this year.

With more than 50 cyber malls already up and running, Taiwan is well on the way to making online shopping a reality. Using GTEs CyberTrust digital certificates, which are electronic credentials for secure online transactions, MasterCards member banks can securely exchange credit card data to complete online purchases and inter-bank settlement. The digital certificates comply with the SET protocol, a global industry standard developed by MasterCard, Visa, GTE and others for safeguarding payment-card purchases made over the Internet.

Roland Teo, Citibank Taiwans country chief for credit cards, was the first Citibank MasterCard cardholder to make a cross-bank, SET-compliant purchase via the MasterCard payment gateway and an IBM-supported infrastructure in Taiwan. He first applied for a GTE CyberTrust digital certificate, which contains encrypted information on his identity, via the Internet. He then purchased a CD online from a ChinaTrust merchant.

Through the digital certificate system, the merchant was only presented with the cardholders purchase request, not his cardholder details. Teos MasterCard-issuing bank then authenticated his identity for the merchant by his digital certificate. The Citibank merchant then accepted Teos
payment request and the transaction was completed. The whole cross-bank transaction was completed on a real-time basis.

MasterCards pilot in Taiwan represents a major event in the successful rollout of SET internationally. GTE is very proud to issue certificates to secure e-commerce on behalf of MasterCard, Citibank and ChinaTrust, said Tom Carty, vice president of Business Development and Marketing for GTE. The teamwork and cooperation of multiple banks, electronic commerce vendors and MasterCard demonstrates the emergence of full, end-to-end, interbank SET interoperability a major accomplishment in electronic commerce.

Commenting on the two Taiwan banks entrepreneurial effort, Thomas Pouliot, MasterCards vice president for electronic commerce, said, The Internets reach is global, for it knows no time zones or physical boundaries. On the level playing field of the Internet, entrepreneurial start-ups can
compete with global conglomerates.

Electronic commerce is a high-growth area in Taiwan, where there are currently some 800,000 Internet accounts. With the implementation of inter-bank, SET-compliant transactions, MasterCard cardholders will not be limited by the number of cyber merchants that are members of the same issuing bank when shopping on the Net. Shopping at different cyber malls will be as secure and convenient as making traditional
face-to-face purchases at different shops and malls where MasterCard is accepted.

SET is an open standard for secure electronic commerce that benefits cardholders, issuers and merchants. Developed by MasterCard and Visa in cooperation with Microsoft, Netscape, IBM, GTE and others, the SET protocol provides a high level of security to payment-card purchases made over open networks such as the Internet, using software, digital certificates and encryption technology.

Digital certificates are electronic credentials that provide online transactions with a means of identification, authentication, privacy and data integrity. Distributed by a trusted third party known as a certification authority, or CA, digital certificates contain identifying information about the holder and the issuing organization that cannot be forged or altered. GTE is a leading developer of CA products and services.

GTE CyberTrust is a complete line of certification authority products and services for use by financial institutions, systems integrators, technology providers and corporate enterprises in a wide range of applications. The CyberTrust Customer-Branded Service offers an outsourcing solution
enabling organizations to issue digital certificates under their own brand while GTE manages the system in the background. The CyberTrust CA product is a complete digital certificate system for companies that want to be their own certification authority. The CyberTrust Partner Forum is a
customer-focused service for development and testing of public key-enabled applications and digital certificate systems prior to release or implementation. More information about GTE CyberTrust can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.cybertrust.gte.com.

With revenues of more than $21 billion in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer
one-stop shopping for local, long-distance and Internet access services. Outside the United States, where GTE has operated for more than 40 years, the company serves over 6.5 million customers. GTE is also a leader in government and defense communications systems and equipment, directories and telecommunications-based information services, and aircraft-passenger telecommunications. Additional information about GTE can be found at http://www.gte.com.

MasterCard International is a pioneer in the electronic commerce arena. On December 30th 1996, the association conducted the worlds first SET in Denmark with PBS and IBM. In April 1997, the association conducted Asia Pacifics first SET in Japan with UC Card. It is expected that 300 merchants and 100,000 cardholders will participate in the UC Card program by the end of this year. Next month, MasterCard will launch its next Asian SET pilot in Singapore.

MasterCard International, a payments company with one of the worlds 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, Maestro and Cirrus, the world's largest ATM network) and maintaining
reliable, secure networks facilitating global value exchange. MasterCard has 404 million credit and debit cards that are accepted at more than 1.3 million acceptance locations worldwide. In 1996, gross dollar volume generated exceeded US$550 billion. MasterCard can be reached through
its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com.