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MasterCard International taking more security precautions for consumers.

One credit card company is showing that it does have concerns for the consumer. MasterCard International launched an initiative to help credit card-accepting merchants tighten up their protection of personal consumer information. They are also taking actions to entice merchants into incorporating security for the consumer.

The credit card association is working with merchants to provide them with information, tools and support to help safeguard consumer information.

The effort is designed to combat credit card fraud amid increasing concerns about identity theft. It comes after a series of high-profile security breaches involving credit card data.

One area of concern and a focal point in their initiative is online transactions. MasterCard is providing lower rates to sellers who adopt MasterCard SecureCode. This is a program that allows cardholders to enter a security code similar to a PIN when they make online purchases.

Online merchants that support SecureCode will be eligible for rates comparable to those for in person transactions. This can be up to a 16 percent reduction. Current practice is credit card companies charge merchants more for online transactions.

To help merchants meet credit card industry rules for security, MasterCard will offer free vulnerability scans. Such a scan is one of the steps required for many businesses to achieve compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, which went into effect last year.

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