1st Data to Personalize Any Visa Chip Card

OMAHA - First Data Corp. said it is the first company able to personalize all Visa chip card products.Through its subsidiary, First Data Resources, the processor can encode a chip with information such as the credit limit and expiration date, depending on the card issuers' needs and the type of card.

First Data met Visa's certification and registration requirements by installing specific hardware and other processes for the production and security of the chip cards. First Data says it is the first domestic processor registered with Visa to do this.

"The availability of issuance services for Visa [smart card products] is a key milestone in the path to smart card acceptance" in the United States, said Patrick Gauthier, vice president of smart card applications at Visa U.S.A. in San Francisco.

First Data is part of the 30-member Global Platform consortium, a Visa-led initiative begun last year that creates industry standards for multi-application smart cards.

Europay to Introduce Interoperable E-Purse

WATERLOO, Belgium - Europay International, MasterCard International's European affiliate, said it will unveil its electronic purse, Clip, at the Euro 2000 soccer championships in June.The demonstration is to show European banks how they can offer an international electronic purse in time for the introduction of euro bank notes and coins in 2002.

"Euro 2000 is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to our member banks that Clip is on schedule for implementation in 2002," said Herve Kergoat, head of prepaid products at Europay.

Clip enhances domestic e-purses and is based on the Common Electronic Purse Specifications, known as CEPS, which guarantee interoperability of all CEPS-based electronic purse products.

Two thousand EURO 2000 Clip cards are to be distributed to Europay members and vendors at the soccer competition, of which Europay is a sponsor. The cards are to come loaded with money that can be spent at gift stands.

Europay and Xiring, a maker of smart card readers, have developed a reader that will accompany the cards.

The terminal, called Converter, is able to read information from an e-purse smart card and show cardholders how much they have spent in their domestic currencies.

Converter looks like a key ring and comes with a small keypad. More than three million Xiring readers are in use in 18 countries.

Amex Blue Card Seen On Track for 2M Goal

ATLANTA - Brittain Associates Inc., a research firm, reports that more than one million American Express Blue cards are in circulation.The company did a national consumer telephone survey of 2,000 adults in March and concluded that Amex is likely to meet its goal of issuing two million Blue cards by yearend.

Bruce Brittain, president of the firm, said, "It's clear that Blue is attracting a young, professional, and well-heeled consumer group."

Mr. Brittain's firm is doing online interviews with more than 1,000 Blue card holders, asking them about their favorite features and how they are using the product. The study is to be repeated in late summer and again in the first quarter of 2001. Brittain Associates wants to give a comprehensive look at the Blue card's first 18 months.

The card comes with a computer chip that is inserted into a reader. The reader is plugged in to the user's personal computer and is meant to give a higher level of security to online shoppers.

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