Carl Pascarella, president and chief executive officer of Visa U.S.A., predicts "infomoney" will be the currency of the future.

"We're moving beyond value exchange to information exchange," said Mr. Pascarella, speaking at an Internet and electronic commerce conference in New York City last week.

"Information will become, in effect, a new technology," he said. "Infomoney will be a combination of financial and personal information that anyone can send anywhere, anytime."

Mr. Pascarella was the keynote speaker of the Internet technology conference sponsored by the Gartner Group, a consulting firm based in Stamford, Conn.

He painted an optimistic picture for banks of a "new age" in which information and payments are linked and banks play a key role in the control of both.

He said banks would be the gatekeepers of "infomoney," which he defined as "a combination of financial and personal information that anyone can send anywhere, anytime.

"Infomoney will travel at the speed of light," Mr. Pascarella said. "People will bank, shop and do business everywhere by exchanging information with the touch of a button." Browser-type devices will become ubiquitous, he predicted.

But Mr. Pascarella also cautioned that electronic commerce would not take off unless people trusted the new currency and its custodians, leading him to conclude that banks would play a central role.

"Infomoney must have the same acceptance as the $20 bill," he said. "Consumers must have access to their infomoney as easily as they open their purses and wallets today."

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