Kapsch AG of Vienna and Concord-Eracom USA Inc. of Brooklyn have formed an alliance to provide contactless smart card systems based on Kapsch's Multicard product.

The contactless cards, which need only be waved near a reader to complete a transaction, can be programmed to operate as an electronic health insurance card, personal identification card, driver's license, cash card, parking permit, or toll charge card.

The companies said their use of new materials allows the system to operate in a wider temperature range than was possible before, from minus- 40 degrees to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kapsch's use of RISC processors with encryption and decryption in hardware is also said to be a first. The card's security protections are said to meet the most stringent military requirements.

Conventional chip cards, which require contact with a terminal, have only about two years of useful life, but the new Kapsch card is designed to last more than six years, the manufacturer said.

Kapsch also produces readers, read-write modules, and software tools for creating applications.

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