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Wednesday 06 June 2001

smart Visa Challenge

Visa USA, Sun Microsystems and smart Visa Smart Card issuers First USA Bank and Fleet Credit Card Services, have launched the smart Visa Challenge, a competition to find and develop innovative Smart Card applications using Java Card technology and tools.

The idea is to facilitate the development and roll-out of untapped services for the smart Visa technology platform and Visa and its partners will select several Challenge winners and potentially bring their new solutions to market by spring 2002.

In October, the companies will choose the top 20 ideas to be developed to full applications or services: 10 in the online (Internet) category and 10 in the offline (retail) category. All finished applications and ideas will be reviewed in January 2002, with prizes awarded in February 2002.

Interested parties should visit the smart Visa Web site for rules and prize information: The date for entries is August 24, 2001, and prizes will be awarded in February 2002.

Contact: Janet Yang, Visa USA
Tel: +1 415 932 2170


Online Users Prefer E-wallets Issued by Financial Institutions

A study commissioned by MasterCard International found that experienced users who shop online with an e-wallet would prefer to use an e-wallet hosted by their financial institution. This represents a substantial opportunity for issuers to enhance cardholder-issuer relationships and reinforce their brand image. Additionally, users of issuer-provided wallets report greater online spending and greater loyalty to the card associated with their issuer-provided wallet.

In the study, Understanding the E-Wallet User: A Market Research Report, conducted by Greenfield Online, 53 per cent of users preferred e-wallets hosted by financial institutions over those sponsored by Internet companies and Internet Service Providers.

E-wallets, which are desktop applications that automatically fill the order forms of online merchants, encourage consumers to shop online because they simplify, expedite and secure the ordering process.

Eighty per cent of online shoppers have abandoned their shopping carts at least once in the previous three months often because of the tedious data entry process of merchant forms, said Art Kranzley, senior vice president, Global e-Business, MasterCard International. E-wallets not only address this problem, they are also an excellent way for members to strengthen their cardholder relationships while promoting their brand and delivering payment services at a point-of-interaction that is closest and most convenient to their customers.

Contact: Lisa DiNicola, MasterCard International
Tel: +1 914 249 5389


  OTI Appoints Distributor in Nigeria

OTI's wholly owned subsidiary OTI Africa has entered into a distribution agreement with BureauFax Technologies (BFT), a leading payment systems integrator in Nigeria and a key player in launching Smart Cards in that country.

BFT will focus on OTI's contactless microprocessor-based Smart Card solutions for secure payment and loyalty, gasoline management systems and applications for the healthcare industry.



  Non-intrusive Access Control

INTACTA Technologies has announced the successful integration of its INTACTA.CODE software with a biometric security application from Imagis Technologies and contactless cards from Smart Card Technologies to demonstrate a secure and non-intrusive means of access control.

By combining facial recognition, contactless Smart Cards and secure encryption, the technologies provide a totally secure and totally passive solution. For example, as part of a secure facility entrance, a photo is taken as part of an employee's security process and encoded using Imagis' ID-2000 facial recognition, and then stored using the INTACTA encryption methodology onto the RFID Smart Card.

When the employee walks into the building carrying the card anywhere on his person, a reader at the entrance will read the ID from the Smart Card triggering a video camera to capture the facial image of the employee. The image will then be encoded in real-time and compared to the encoding of the individual stored in the database (or on the card). If it matches, the door will open. If not, the door will not open, and security personnel will be notified.

Contact: Noel Bambrough, INTACTA Technologies Inc
Tel: +1 404 880 9919

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