Oki Advanced Products said its hand-held smart card reader, Value-Checker, has been certified for the Proton electronic purse system.

Proton, developed by the Belgian bank technology company Banksys, operates under that name in Belgium and has been licensed to organizations in the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Brazil, Chile, and Canada.

Proton also has granted a worldwide, nonexclusive license to American Express Co.

Oki's Value-Checker, which has also been used in other chip card systems, enables cardholders to check their balances and recent transactions. Oki, a unit of Oki Electric Industries of Japan, developed an early version of a Proton-compatible reader in 1995.

"As a leader in personal smart card readers, we are strongly committed to supporting" Proton, said Gerry Vandenengel, director of marketing and sales for Oki's U.S. company. "This agreement will help ensure that Proton customers have proven and tested products."

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