Hong Kong University to Host Visa-Sponsored Chip Card Center

SINGAPORE - Visa International is collaborating with the University of Hong Kong on a center to help promote and develop multifunction smart card programs in Asia.The Visa Smart Card Center of Excellence will introduce smart card technology into the university curriculum. Other academic institutions in the Asia-Pacific region are invited to join.

The Hong Kong school has also been designated an Authorized Academic Java Center by Sun Microsystems Inc. and an Internet-Centric Excellence Center by Sun and Oracle Corp.

Y.C. Cheng, the university's vice chancellor, said the programs are meant to support the Hong Kong government's information technology initiatives.

Visa is particularly interested in promoting its Java-based Open Platform standard, though any interested parties can take part in the smart card center, said Rodolphe Chabanel director of Open Platform for Visa's Asia-Pacific organization.

"We are leading the way in actively planning and implementing a migration of all Visa-branded cards to smart cards by 2006," he said. "We developed Open Platform to offer the most flexible choice for smart card programs by allowing issuers to choose from a wide range of chip and card suppliers and multiple operating systems."

First Data Unit in United Kingdom Passes a Million-Card Milestone

OMAHA - First Data Corp. said its subsidiary in the United Kingdom, FDR Ltd., has processed its millionth smart card and expects to have up to 10 million in its files by yearend.The U.K. operating unit, known as FDRL, has been gearing up for large-scale chip card processing since trials began in that country in 1997. As of mid-December, FDRL had issued more than 600,000 chip cards on behalf of seven clients.

"First Data is dedicated to meeting the smart card needs of our clients into the next millennium," said Ann Kennedy, vice president and general manager for smart card business development. "We plan to continue our development efforts and make appropriate investments to ensure we can deliver an end-to-end smart card solution for clients."

First Data said it expects to be certified to "load, initialize, and personalize" MasterCard and Visa smart card products by the end of the first quarter.

Scotiabank Using IVI Checkmate's Smart-Card-Ready POS Terminals

ATLANTA - IVI Checkmate Corp. said that Bank of Nova Scotia is the first bank in Canada to deploy its point of sale terminals with smart card capability.All of Scotiabank's new terminals will include IVI Checkmate's eN-Crypt 1200 personal identification number pad, which adds the ability to accept smart cards.

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