Instead of sitting around waiting for smart cards, a number of companies have started promoting prepaid or stored value services with traditional magnetic stripe technology.

Retail store chains and a few credit card issuers have been marketing these cards for a while now, as a replacement for paper gift certificates. But interest is growing in stored value for use in other areas such as payroll, benefits, insurance claims, campus marketing, and travelers checks, and several alliances have recently taken shape.

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