MasterCard and its European ally Europay called two shots last week in the global battle of smart card wills, handing Visa one victory and taking one for themselves.

Europay signed on to a standardization effort called CEPS-Common Electronic Purse Specification-that has become a linchpin of Visa's chip card strategy. Indirectly through Europay, MasterCard and its Mondex subsidiary have bowed to the European banking majority's pressure for a multinational, stored-value payment framework in advance of the continent's unified currency, the euro.

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