International Business Machines Corp. said it launched a joint initiative with the Danish payments company PBS to provide digital certificate and payment gateway services in Europe.

Operating within the credit card industry's Secure Electronic Transactions, or SET, framework, the initiative has been endorsed by Visa International. Visa certified PBS as a trusted party for certificate issuance. IBM will provide marketing and other support.

IBM was one of MasterCard and Visa's SET development partners and worked with PBS on the first SET pilot, begun in December 1996.

"Europe has already been the most successful geography in the use of SET technology," said IBM electronic commerce manager Philippe Jarre. "This announcement reflects the huge growth in demand for secure Internet payment facilities."

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