Cardlogix, a smart card producer, has introduced a high-security magnetic stripe card.

Vault Cards have a small keyboard built into the card, which acts as an on and off switch. Consumers enter a personal identification number onto the keyboard, and the magnetic stripe is activated.

The stripe can then be swiped for transactions. It automatically shuts off after a predetermined amount of time - 2.5 minutes or longer.

Emil Nastri, vice president of sales, said the patented technology can stop 80% of fraudulent activity associated with lost and stolen cards.

But the cards are expensive, costing from $2.50 to $5 each in large volumes - about the same as the cost of a smart card. Though some firms, such as MasterCard and Visa, are interested in the technology, Mr. Nastri said they couldn't justify the initial expense.

Mr. Nastri said the same technology is available for smart cards.

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