The Dutch smart card company Gemalto NV announced the commercial launch Wednesday of an optical card reader for online banking.

The card-size device, called Ezio Optical Reader, is specially designed for the German market and fits in a wallet along with the banking card, the Amsterdam manufacturer said in a press release.

During an online banking session, the customer inserts the card into the chip reader and enters a personal identification number.

The reader uses optical sensors to capture data from the computer screen.

No software needs to be installed on customers' computers to use the device.

The reader then generates a one-time password that the customer enters into the computer to carry out and sign the online transaction, Gemalto said.