Associations to Create Smart Card Protocol

NEW YORK - Europay International, MasterCard International, and Visa International said they will jointly create an open standard for securing electronic transactions over the Internet using smart cards.

The companies will link their specifications for chip card interoperability, known as EMV from the associations' initials, with the Secure Electronic Transactions protocol for the Internet. The latter, SET, was developed by MasterCard and Visa with assistance from several technology companies.

The linked specification is expected to be published for comment by the third quarter 1997. The third quarter is also when SET is expected to be commercially available, following extensive testing.

One of the key benefits of linking the two technologies is portability. The public keys and digital signatures that provide authentication can be programmed in the chip, instead of in a personal computer hard drive. The consumer can then make protected electronic transactions from any computer with a smart card reader.

Whitney of La. Joins Pulse ATM Network

NEW ORLEANS - Whitney Holding Corp. has joined Pulse EFT Association, the Houston-based regional automated teller machine network.

Pulse's largest member institution based in Louisiana, the $4 billion- asset bank also has branches in Alabama and Florida.

Through Pulse, Whitney customers will have access 55,000 ATMs in 41 states.

Whitney brings 66,000 active ATM cards and 94 teller machines into the Pulse program.

NationsBank Placing ATMs in Shell Stores

ATLANTA - NationsBank Corp. said it is now installing 100 automated teller machines at Shell EDT convenience stores throughout Florida. All of the ATMs are scheduled to be installed by early 1997.

The ATM installations are part of a strategy by NationsBank to expand its ATM network in Florida and across its retail banking franchise.

The ATMs will be installed in several cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Fort Myers. With the installation of the new ATMs, NationsBank will have approximately 600 ATMs throughout Florida.

Fifth Third Widens Base for Bill Payment

CINCINNATI - Fifth Third Bank announced an expansion of its marketing efforts for the bill payment system BillPayer 2000.

Besides its own customers, the $20 billion-asset bank is now providing the automated payment service in partnership with its affiliate, Midwest Payment Systems, to individual customers of companies - such as utilities - in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

For a fee of 32 cents per transaction, customers can have recurring monthly bill payments automatically deducted from their checking accounts, at any bank.

Making a payment system available to an audience beyond Fifth Third's existing customer base, "will allow us to cross-sell products," said George W. Landry, executive vice president, Fifth Third Bancorp.

When a consumer signs up for the two-year-old service, Fifth Third accepts responsibility for receiving the bills and ensuring payment. The bank does not charge the merchant for collecting payments, or the bill payer for setting up the account.

Currently, Fifth Third provides BillPayer 2000 to 30,000 customers of Warner Cable, Fifth Third Bank, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Cinergy and its affiliates, including Union Light, Heat, and Power.

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