With Visa's latest strategic alliance, its management shows that resting on one?s laurels is never a good way to get ahead of the curve. As dozens of Visa Cash card pilots are underway around the globe, the company is planning its next move: the Visa Open Platform smart card.

The card is Java-based and can run any application written in Java. In addition to traditional uses, like credit and debit, the new smart card will be able to handle Internet micropayments, new card-based home banking programs and additional security for electronic banking and commerce, among other things. Because applications can be downloaded onto the card from a PC or ATM, banks can develop customized, secure applications for high-value customers for lower cost than might otherwise be possible.

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