SAN FRANCISCO -- Visa International said it will expand its Interlink debit card program to meet a demand by overseas member banks for an on-line card with a personal identification number.

Currently, Visa's debit offerings overseas include the offline Visa Check card and the Electron card, which can be signature or PIN-based. Because it can accomplish electronic authorization at the point of sale, the Interlink product is appropriate for virtually all of a financial institution's customer base. The other two products entail slightly more risk to the issuer, and therefore cannot be issued to all customers.

Interlink is the largest online debit program in the United States, with more than 23 million cards issued. It will expand initially to countries where the technology to accept the cards already exists. The Asia-Pacific region would be among the first to benefit, the association said.

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