Pathways Group Inc., a leading provider of custom electronic banking, payment, and smart card software, announced a letter of intent to supply 1.5 million smart cards to LinkOpp Marketing Inc. of Hermosa Beach, Calif.

LinkOpp, a national electronic commerce membership program, intends to issue the cards this quarter, with 10 million more to follow over 18 months.

LinkOpp and Pathways said this may be the first example of such cooperation to introduce smart card transaction processing with affinity benefits both at conventional retail stores and on an Internet-based merchant network.

The initial rollout is expected to include a mix of smart card- and magnetic stripe-reading merchant terminals and several other read-write devices for personal computers and keyboards.

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