Because nothing in the Digital Signature Act that President Clinton signed into law June 30 requires financial institutions to use specific technology to secure transactions,, like many others, is evaluating the benefits.

There are trade-offs, said Dino Tsibouris, a vice president and counsel at Wingspan and its holding company, Bank One Corp. "Digital certificates require a sign-up process and additional authentication, and so we have to ask, 'Is it worth the hassle?' "

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