Compared to the more pragmatic telecommunications and health care organizations, banks are still pretty much no-shows in the smart card market.

Bankers often cite the chicken-and-egg problem - merchants need customer demand or other incentives to tool up for integrated circuit cards, and cardholders resist until they have places and reasons to use the cards. The smart card pilot programs do not offer much in the way of progress, at least in the physical realm. The business case for replacing small cash transactions has not sunk in yet.

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