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 SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Visa International today launched Visa CardShield, a comprehensive, multi-year program that provides Visa member financial institutions with the most complete arsenal of high-tech weapons to protect their cardholders against the losses and distress of payment card fraud.
 With innovations such as counterfeit-proof magnetic stripes, integrated circuit cards, neural networking, and special card activation programs, Visa CardShield is turning up the heat on payment card criminals. Additional state-of-the-art technologies are being pioneered by Visa in its ongoing effort to provide Visa cardholders throughout the world with the ultimate in bankcard security.
 Visa CardShield underscores the association's commitment to making Visa the most secure payment system in the world, paving the way for a global marketplace where fraud no longer poses a threat to Visa cardholders and merchants. In addition to safeguarding consumers from the threat of fraud, Visa CardShield will enhance customer satisfaction and confidence in the Visa brand.
 "Visa CardShield represents the most aggressive assault on card fraud in Visa's history. Thanks to the hard work, enthusiastic support, and wise investment in Visa's delivery system, our members are dealing a devastating blow to criminals around the globe," stated Roger Peirce, executive vice president, Visa International. "Maximizing the strength of Visa's centralized systems, we will deploy, in rapid succession, Visa CardShield's anti-fraud initiatives to ensure Visa cardholders receive the maximum protection," added Peirce.
 Visa CardShield is an integral part of PaymentService 2000, Visa's strategic plan for streamlining payments and accommodating the meteoric demand for cashless payment services -- by the year 2000 Visa transactions are forecasted to reach more than $1 trillion.
 Current CardShield Initiatives include:
 Card Verification Value (CVV)
 With the worldwide launch of Visa's Card Verification Value (CVV) program on April 1, 1993, Visa CardShield dealt a significant blow to credit card fraudsters. In the first four months of operation the CVV program has saved members nearly $30 million -- clearly reducing overall counterfeit losses for the first time in this decade.
 Counterfeit-proof Card Authentication Methodology
 After more than three years of research and evaluation, Visa's most sophisticated anti-electronic counterfeit measures are set to enter their final phase of analysis. The two most viable card authentication alternatives, HoloMagnetics and Watermark Magnetics, will be field tested by Visa members in the United Kingdom and the United States later this year. Following the field tests an advanced card authentication technology will emerge as the worldwide industry standard for complete protection of the magnetic stripe.
 Integrated Circuit Cards
 In September 1992, Visa announced its decision to integrate circuit card technology into the association's global payment service strategy. Since that time the association has been finalizing the international specifications for the integration of microchips on bank cards. Preliminary standards that will ensure seamless cross-border circuit card functionality are complete and currently under review. Visa expects to release the final specifications in the fourth quarter of 1993. Integrated circuit technology will complement the magnetic stripe to support individual local market needs. Visa's strategy is to provide a chip solution that will work with the magnetic stripe to provide the ultimate in card security.
 Neural Networking To Fight Fraud at Merchant Level
 Visa International, through an exclusive agreement with strategic partner HNC Inc., the industry leader in neural network applications, is currently developing a comprehensive merchant risk detection system that will be available in 1994. The planned Visa-HNC system is designed to further reduce fraud losses by assigning a risk score to each payment authorization processed through the VisaNet system. With Visa's neural network capabilities, members will be better able to assess risk at the point-of-transaction and therefore, make more informed authorization decisions.
 Using information gained from early neural network research, Visa members have implemented two highly successful weapons in the attack on merchant fraud. The first, International Points-of-Compromise (IPOC) continues to be very effective in protecting cardholders against merchants that may be supplying counterfeiters with account information. The second, Central Deposit Monitoring (CDM), matches merchant activity with sales draft laundering characteristics and identifies suspicious merchant deposits. CDM is currently cracking more than three laundering operations per week.
 Visa is the leading consumer payment system in the world with more than 10.4 million acceptance locations, the largest global ATM network and 309 million cards issued worldwide.
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 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Please see attached glossary of terms.
 Glossary of Payment Card Terms
 PaymentService 2000 -- a multi-year Visa International initiative to: 1) increase card utility, 2) improve risk control, and 3) reduce related payment processing costs.
 Card Verification Value (CVV) -- a secret check value that is encoded onto a card's magnetic stripe that is used to verify that the card has not been altered or counterfeited.
 Holomagnetics -- a technology that uses an optical pattern overlaying the traditional magnetic stripe. This optical pattern contains a unique identification (ID) number that can be machine-read for card authentication and cannot be erased, copied or altered.
 Watermark Magnetics -- a technology that embeds a card identification (ID) number into a magnetic stripe during tape manufacturing. The magnetically readable ID number is permanently structured into the tape and cannot be erased, copied or altered.
 Integrated Circuit (IC) Card -- a card embedded with an IC chip that communicates information to ATM point of transaction terminals. An IC chip is an electronic component designed to perform processing or memory functions.
 Neural Network -- a technology that uses an intelligent network of varying predictors that can be designed to produce a single overall result. The technology can be applied to both merchant and cardholder monitoring to determine the probability of a risky authorization transaction.
 International Points of Compromise (IPOC) -- a Visa International program that identifies merchant locations where Visa account information is being obtained for future use in counterfeit transactions. Merchants conducting business with an usually high number of cardholders, whose accounts are subsequently counterfeited, are identified as potential points of compromise.
 Central Deposit Monitoring -- a Visa International anti-fraud program that uses Visa's centralized processing network to analyze merchants' daily deposits on a global scale and tracks them for known sales draft laundering and telemarketing characteristics./
 /CONTACT: Albert Coscia of Visa International, 415-570-2039/

CO: Visa International ST: California IN: SU: PDT

TM -- SF011 -- 1752 09/14/93 12:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 14, 1993

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