Several French banking organizations have joined forces with France Telecom in what is billed as the world's first secure mobile commerce service.

Using specifications of the credit card standardization body Groupement Cartes Bancaires, the service was begun Aug. 4 on a trial basis. The service is delivered on wireless telephones that conform to the Global System for Mobile communications -- or GSM -- format that is dominant in Europe. Smart card readers in the handset offer a higher level of security than would passwords alone, the companies said.

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