Electronic Payment Services Inc. said the president of its smart card enterprise unit, Donald Gleason, has resigned, effectively ending the company's efforts to develop its own smart card system.

A spokeswoman for Wilmington, Del.-based Electronic Payment Services said Mr. Gleason had stepped down last Wednesday when his three-year contract expired.

Sources close to the company said its chairman and chief executive officer, David Van Lear, might soon resign as well. But company executives denied the reports.

In recent years, Electronic Payment Services had promoted itself as a leader in the smart card industry. It had been building a system that would give consumers places to load the chip-bearing cards with cash, as well as places to spend the stored funds.

In August 1995, it organized Smart Cash, a consortium of 11 banks and other technology companies, to defray rising development costs. After repeated delays of a planned pilot in Delaware, Smart Cash gradually faded from the scene.

"Originally, we expected to develop a proprietary product and push it through MAC," the regional electronic banking network owned and operated by EPS, said Richard Garman, the parent company's president. "We have revised our strategy."

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