International Business Machines Corp. announced two more firsts in late June for its SET-compliant Net.Commerce server system.

Laying claim to a leadership role in disseminating the MasterCard-Visa Secure Electronic Transactions protocol, IBM said it provided the infrastructure for a postage stamp purchasing system in Finland and for Amalgamated Banks of South Africa's first secure Internet transaction.

The Finland project allows people to buy stamps from the national post office's Web site. Finland Post's Philatelic Center cultivates international sales, has subscribers in 90 countries, and in 1996 was one of the first to adopt Digicash Inc.'s E-cash payment system.

The postal system's managing director, Asko Saviaho, made the ceremonial first SET purchase with a Visa card. By the fall, 20 more companies are expected to be participating in the test.

In South Africa, IBM, Amalgamated Banks, several merchants, and an initial 50 cardholders are participating in the initial phases of what is said to be the first joint and interoperable MasterCard-Visa certification program on the World Wide Web. The participants are aiming for "widespread participation in electronic commerce" by January 1998, IBM said.

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