In a sign of the growing relationship between the two companies, US Order has added Visa executive Wesley C. Tallman to its board.

Mr. Tallman, 50, has been president of Visa's product and information services since January 1994. Before that he was Visa's executive vice president for products and market development.

Visa and US Order, which develops and markets products and services for the home banking and telecommunications industries, have been linked several times in the past year. uLast August, Visa purchased US Order's electronic banking and bill payment operations and created Visa Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary.

In February, Visa and US Order began a yearlong test of screen telephone technology for home banking, shopping, and bill payment.

William F. Gorog, chairman and chief executive of US Order, went so far as to describe the two companies as "locked at the hip." He said that Mr. Tallman's presence on the board would facilitate US Order's offering a wide variety of Visa-compatible remote banking products and services.

"This works to maintain the extremely close relationship between the two companies," said Mr. Gorog. "Their success is ours, and our support can accelerate their penetration of the market."

Visa's group executive vice president and general counsel, Bennett Katz, however, sought to downplay the relationship, suggesting that US Order, a public company, might be exaggerating the extent of the partnership to inflate its stock value.

"We have a strategic relationship with them, and because of that we're sitting on their board to make sure our strategies are aligned," Mr. Katz said. When asked, he allowed that "I would not have characterized it being 'locked at the hip.'"

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