Like many other banks, Royal Bank of Canada has been grappling with how to provide its corporate customers on-line access to account information while insuring a high level of security. The Montreal-based banking company has solved the problem with smart cards. Similar to a credit card, a smart card stores information on a microprocessor chip located within it and allow users to transmit data with complete security. Through smart card technology, the $123 billion-asset bank can offer corporate customers from retailing, fast food, and utility companies an efficient and secure access ramp to their accounts, while collecting fee income associated with the cards and related services.

Since 1985, when the bank first starting using smart cards to facilitate secure access to its on4ine electronic business banking services, the bank has collected more than $1.4 million in fees associated with the cards. "When we developed the process of providing a customer access and reporting function on-site, our primary need was to ensure the information was secure and the system was safe;' said John Black, the product manager. "By using the cards, we can ensure that the customers have safe and secure access to the data and that our system is not being violated." Now that the service is successfully under way, the bank's emphasis has turned to the revenue potential.

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