MasterCard International and American Express Co. presented a demonstration at the CardTech West conference this week in San Jose, Calif., to prove that smart cards from different issuers and manufacturers can be accepted by a single terminal at the point of sale.

The two rivals may not have collaborated on such a project since magnetic-stripe terminals were widely distributed more than 10 years ago. They have now agreed to show a unified front on the issue of "interoperability," which they and other smart card advocates view as crucial to the success of the advanced payment cards.

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