The Smart Card Forum, the other product of Citicorp's collaborative technology initiative, has added a member from what had previously been seen as the enemy camp.
The recent addition, CoreStates Bank of Philadelphia, has close ties to Electronic Payment Services Inc., or EPS, the Delaware-based transaction processing powerhouse that includes the MAC automated teller machine network.
EPS has categorically refused to join the Smart Card Forum. It doesn't want to share information about a stored-value card using chip technology, which it has had under development for the last couple of years.
CoreStates Bank's parent, CoreStates Financial Corp., founded the MAC network and is among the principal owners of EPS.
The Philadelphia bank joins several major U.S. and Canadian institutions in the forum, which has well over 100 members from various industries, including telecommunications and mass media.
Among the others, which have paid a minimum of $1,000 to enter at the "auditing" level, are most of the banks in the Financial Services Technology Consortium (see the accompanying article), Barnett Banks Inc., BayBanks Inc., and First of America Bank Corp. of Michigan.
Other Allies Join
Close relationships with EPS did not prevent Danyl Corp., EPS' provider of card reading systems, and Gemplus Card International, its smart card supplier, from joining the forum.
Another member is National City Processing Co., which will become an EPS "cousin" of CoreStates this year when its parent, National City Corp., becomes a coowner of the network.
A CoreStates spokesman would confirm only that it has joined the forum. The bank is not commenting publicly on its membership or what it expects to get out of it.