Europay International has launched its Clip smart card program in the Czech Republic.

Louis-Noel Joly, chief executive officer of Europay, made the ceremonial first purchase from a sandwich vendor May 21 in Prague's Wenceslas Square.

Three Czech banks, all issuers of Europay-MasterCard products, signed on to the electronic purse project when Europay announced it last year. The pilot, with 1,000 cards and 25 merchants, is expected to grow to 10,000 and 100, respectively, by yearend.

The banks-Komercni Banka, Investicni a Postovni Banka, and Agrobanka- account for 60% of the national market. They eventually plan to participate in the pan-European rollout of Clip, allowing multiple currencies to reside on the card.

ISC Muzo, the computer service company supporting the Czech Clip program, is also the first customer of Europay's Open Terminal Architecture. The software allows any type of transaction terminal to handle payments in a standard way, making it easier to accommodate product changes. OTA is being used in the first phase of the Clip pilot on two terminal brands, Ingenico and Verifone.

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