The SET payment standard for the Internet is making inroads overseas that supporters say could eventually turn the tide in North America, where much of the banking community wrote it off as unwieldy or unnecessary.

The protocol, formally Secure Electronic Transaction, was vilified almost from the day the MasterCard and Visa associations, in cooperation with several leading technology vendors, started to promote it. Though there are still no noticeable stirrings in the United States - those same companies are more intent on distributing digital wallet technology for holiday season shopping - momentum in Europe is building, along with the general excitement about electronic commerce and a corresponding concern about credit card fraud and chargebacks.

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