Major regional automated teller machine networks are in talks on an agreement that could make widespread use of debit cards for Internet payments a reality, according to NYCE Corp., the network that developed a technology for on-line use of the cards.

The major ATM networks do not allow debit purchases over the Internet because personal computers are not equipped with the secure, hardware-encrypted PIN-pads now a familiar sight at many checkouts. Unlike credit cards or the off-line debit cards offered through MasterCard and Visa, PIN-based debit also requires the consumer to present his card for the purchase.

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