Electronic Data Systems Corp. has become a sponsoring member of CommerceNet, a consortium of companies, including many banks, that has been working to promote trade on the Internet.

As a sponsoring member, the Plano, Tex.-based computer services company will help fund the group and sit on the steering committee. EDS will contribute $35,000 a year to CommerceNet, according to Carol Winters, a spokeswoman for EDS.

Through this participation EDS will aid CommerceNet in setting technical standards and directing future efforts to provide electronic commerce services to its members.

EDS also plans to work within the organization to deploy and coordinate applications for handling payments over the computer networks that make up the Internet.

EDS has long had an electronic commerce unit and, like many of its financial service company rivals, recently appears to be making greater inroads into the area of on-line services.

"The hardware, software, and communications companies in this organization will be developing new technologies and applications required for Internet activity," said Fred Gumbel, president of the electronic commerce unit at EDS.

"Our participation in this group will give us a better understanding of how to apply those capabilities in business solutions we offer our customers."

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