Editor: Deborah Whitman

To most of us the credit card system is a black box, with the merchant at one end and the credit card statement at the other. We never stop to consider what is going on in the background nor the safety of the transaction.

Now that we are using credit cards for electronic commerce on the Internet, we have started to question this payment process. Who gets to see my credit card number? How does it travel over the Internet? Is it safe? Once we start examining the process, we begin to see how little we know about it.

This site is made up of a report on credit card transactions that I wrote as part of a directed reading class at George Mason University. Brad Cox Ph.D. was my faculty advisor for the course. Its main focus is on systems for doing credit card transactions online. To provide the reader with some background information, it also contains a short review of the credit card industry and how credit card transactions are processed in the real world.

I have broken this report into several pages, to make it easier to read online. At the bottom of each page is a set of buttons to use to navigate through the site. The home button returns you to this page.

For those of you who want a printed copy of this report, I have made a single page version available. (Warning - it is a large page.)

Report Index

Credit Card Industry Overview:

Online Credit Card Transactions:


Copyright © 1996 by Keith Lamond
Please read copyright notice