A company called ATM Direct Inc. is developing a software-based system to let people use PIN-based debit cards for Internet purchases and is in discussions with bank card processors and electronic funds transfer networks that might buy it.

The Dallas company, founded in 1999, is one of several trying to bring to market a scheme that would make this kind of debit card relevant for e-commerce. Right now people can use signature-based Visa and MasterCard debit cards for Internet purchases by typing in the account number but cannot use PIN-based debit cards that are processed by EFT networks.

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