MIAMI BEACH -- NYCE Corp. is bidding to promote debit card payments on the Internet with a system that it hopes other electronic funds transfer networks will also accept.

Automated teller machine cards have largely been shut out of Internet commerce because of the need to process personal identification numbers in encrypted form. NYCE would address that problem by issuing surrogate cards in the form of CD-ROM disks.

The Woodcliff Lake, N.J., networking company unveiled its initiative, SafeDebit, on Wednesday at the Bank Administration Institute Retail Delivery Conference.

A consumer placing the CD-ROM into a computer drive would be assured a level of security at least as high as that afforded in a conventional point of sale debit with a PIN, said NYCE president Dennis Lynch.

"It will look to an financial institution just like any POS or ATM transaction through our network," Mr. Lynch said at a press conference. NYCE chose CD-ROMS in part because personal computers readily accept them, as opposed to smart cards, he said.

NYCE said Michigan National Bank and the retailers CVS and Walgreen's have said they want to use SafeDebit in its early market stages, scheduled for the second quarter next year.

Working with numerous technology partners, including the payments software company ACI Worldwide, and GlobeID Software of France, Mr. Lynch said he hopes ATM networks such as Star and MAC buy into the proposal so that it approaches national coverage.

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