American Express officials announced the launch of SafeKey, an online security service that helps prevent fraudulent e-commerce transactions. The service may seem familiar to Visa cardholders, since it uses the same "3-D Secure" technology the powers the popular "Verified by Visa" online security service.

3-D Secure verifies a credit card user's identity by confirming personal information across three distinct Internet domains. Typically, an e-commerce transaction requires information to pass between two domains: the merchant's website and the customer's bank. 3-D Secure adds a third layer of protection by pausing a transaction until a customer provides a password or other key information on an additional website.

For American Express and Visa credit card holders, registering for 3-D Secure requires submitting a key piece of information shared only at the SafeKey or Verified by Visa website. With more online retailers supporting the technology, identity thieves have fewer outlets for phony credit card transactions. American Express officials told reporters that they planned to roll out SafeKey for customers in Singapore and the UK in November, with a global launch timeline to be determined.

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Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.