Visa Picks IFS Software for Chip Card Tests

TROY, N.Y. - IFS International Inc. said it would supply software for several Visa Cash smart card pilots around the world.

The software, TPII, proved itself in a test in the cafeteria at Bank of America's headquarters in San Francisco. The Unix-based system manages such functions as cash reloads, funds authorization, and signature authentication.

IFS' agreement with Visa last July covered up to seven pilot programs. IFS has installed, for example, the first on-line reloadable smart card system in Germany for the Berliner Bank Visa Cash pilot.

Anticipating growing demand, the payment software company recently completed a $7 million offering of convertible preferred stock and warrants. It used the proceeds in part to buy a facility in Rensselaer Technology Park and said it would spend $400,000 modifying it. American Express Joins Chipcard Alliance

SEATTLE - American Express Co. has joined the Global Chipcard Alliance, which was organized last year by a global consortium of telecommunications companies.

The group promotes multi-function smart card applications and standards that support them.

"With the addition of American Express, the GCA now has industry leaders in the major application areas of finance, travel, and telecommunications," said David Anastasi, president of the alliance and vice president and general manager of U S West's public services division in Seattle.

"We are delighted to be a principal member of the Global Chipcard Alliance," said David Boyles, senior vice president in charge of smart cards for American Express. "We are committed to providing our customers with value and convenience through multi-application, interoperable smart cards, and our participation in GCA will help us reach this goal."

Other members include PTT Telecom Netherlands, Deutsche Telekom, GTE Corp., Bell Canada, and Oracle Corp. Verifone Backed on Secure Product Exports

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Verifone Inc. said it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce to export products based on the Secure Electronic Transactions protocol.

Verifone incorporated the MasterCard-Visa standard in its vGate, vPos, and vWallet software for financial institutions, merchants, and consumers involved in transactions on the Internet.

Verifone said it was the first to announce export approval for a SET- based, end-to-end Internet commerce solution with full-strength data encryption. Its products use 1,024-bit keys for public key encryption and digital signatures, and 64-bit DES (Data Encryption Standard) algorithms for bulk encryption.

Until a recent loosening of government restrictions that were intended to prevent foreign military and terrorist uses of high-level data security, only 40-bit keys could be used in exported products, and they were said to be easily compromised.

Verifone's approval "is a significant milestone in the worldwide adoption of SET-based Internet commerce solutions," said George Hoyem, vice president and general manager of the company's Internet commerce division, which has been working closely with Verifone's new parent, Hewlett-Packard Co. Omron Debuts Hybrid Reader to Span Gaps

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - Omron Electronics Inc. has introduced a hybrid card reader as a time- and cost-saving alternative to replacing or retrofitting automated teller machines for integrated-circuit chip cards.

With the MVF-DL motorized hybrid reader-writer, protocols for new card technologies can be downloaded from a host computer to an ATM in one to two minutes.

Omron said all smart card types and standards can be accommodated, including EMV, Bull, Gemplus, Orga, Schlumberger, ZKA, and PTT.

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