Banksys, the Belgian company that developed the Proton smart card system, announced an agreement with the European telecommunications consortium Unisource to allow for smart-card-based payments over the Internet.

The companies are planning trials of Internet transactions using Proton electronic purses at personal computers, hand-held computers, advanced or wireless telephones, and other means of access.

The plan "is ample proof of the flexibility of our technology to accommodate various payment vehicles and systems," said Julian Wilson, director of the Unisource smart access project. Unisource earlier this year announced a payments test involving Mondex electronic purses with the GSM wireless telephone standard.

"This agreement is a first step in ensuring interoperability between the different Proton-based smart card schemes in Europe first and worldwide later," said Armand Linkens, director of marketing and sales for Banksys. The bank-owned organization has licensed Proton to 14 countries or organizations, members of an association called Proton World.

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