FISC, the national payment network in Taiwan, has endorsed the Visa Open Platform technology, saying it expects to have one million smart cards in circulation by 2001.

FISC, or Financial Information Services Company Ltd., said it chose Open Platform because it will let member banks choose from a wide range of operating systems and vendors and will allow for multiple functions on a single card.

Conversion of existing proprietary smart cards to the Visa-sponsored technology, which is based on the Java Card standard of Sun Microsystems Inc., would begin in the fourth quarter this year.

FISC president Lin Chen Chen said Open Platform won over several other options because it is "the best multifunction smart card technology available" and "offers our members a choice of global standards, flexibility, and convenience."

Visa Open Platform has been endorsed by French banks and the People's Bank of China, among others. A U.S. test is expected to be announced soon.

The Taiwanese organization also said it is doing a feasibility study of CEPS, the Common Electronic Purse Specifications, which Visa has been promoting for cross-border interoperability of stored value payment systems.

CEPS has much support in Europe, including from the MasterCard affiliate Europay International. Proton of Belgium has said it will have CEPS-based cards ready before euro notes and coins are introduced in January 2002. Singapore's NETS network is also in the fold.

Visa last week announced publication of its own Visa Cash specifications based on the standard, called VCEPS.

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