Global smart card initiative launched

In a bid to standardise the technology for smart cards worldwide, Visa International announced today the creation of GlobalPlatform, a forum established to explore and promote a converged platform for current and future smart card technologies.

The forum calls for eliminating the barriers hindering the expansion of smart card applications, in particular the current proliferation of competing smart card platforms worldwide, Visa said in a statement.

Fifteen companies are founding members, including British Telecommunications PLC, Sun Microsystems, the Australian smart card and e-commerce company Keycorp and the former semiconductor subsidiary of Siemens AG, Infineon Technologies AG.

"The purpose of GlobalPlatform is to bring different bodies together to focus on standards concerning all different aspects of smart card technologies and applications, not just for use over the Internet," said Coelina Carter, spokeswoman for Visa.

Visa has no preexisting preference for a specific standard, but has made its intellectual property part of the Open Platform card specifications and terminal framework technology available to GlobalPlatform, Carter said.

Smart cards are plastic wallet-sized cards with microprocessor chips embedded inside and can be used within multiple industries for a variety of activities such as payment, banking, telecommunications and transport.

Even though smart card technology is most popular in Asia and Europe, GlobalPlatform will be based in the United States, Carter said.

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