Europay International, Waterloo, Belgium, has launched a smart-card educational program for its member banks.

The program, designed to underscore the MasterCard-affiliated association's role in promoting chip card technology, will include a symposium for senior-level bankers May 8 and 9 in Genval, Belgium.

Europay has prided itself on its early embrace of chip cards, which were invented in France and endorsed by that country's bank card industry in the 1980s.

In September 1993, the Europay board endorsed a conversion of all cards to the technology, which was expected to take several years to complete. Three months later Europay joined MasterCard International and Visa International in what became known as the EMV standards-setting body.

Subjects at the symposium, sponsored by the Europay Academy training division, will include a history of the chip card, its likely impact on bank operating systems, projected financial justification, and opportunities in electronic commerce.

Gaby Boone, senior manager of Europay Academy, said he expects to schedule other chip-related workshops and seminars this year covering operations, marketing, and customer relations.

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