NEW YORK -- Several banking organizations led by Citicorp has joined a multi-industry association to promote development of "smart cards," which are plastic cards enhanced with computer-chip memories.

The group which has been holding meetings since last year, said Wednesday that it has incorporated in Delaware as the Smart Card Forum. Citicorp played an active organizational role, and Catherine Allen, a vice president in Citibank's corporate technology group, is interim chairman of the forum.

She said the forum will explore the need for "interoperability standards," which could allow cards used in pay telephones, for example, to be compatible with transit or banking applications.

Initial members include American Express Co., Apple Computer Inc., AT&T, Bank of Montreal, BayBanks Inc., International Business Machines Corp., MasterCard International, Microsoft Inc., the Washington Post Co., the U.S. Treasury, and Visa International.

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