SOURCE: The Smart Card Alliance

August 30, 2005 15:00 ET

New Smart Card Alliance Council Created to Inform Issuers, Merchants and Consumers About Benefits of Contactless Payments

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 30, 2005 -- With major U.S. card issuers beginning regional and national rollouts of contactless smart chip technology for fast, secure payments, the Smart Card Alliance today announced the formation of a Contactless Payments Council. The Council will work to facilitate the adoption of contactless payments in the U.S. through education programs for consumers, merchants and issuers.

"Contactless payment is an exciting new consumer payments technology that provides convenience, speed and ease of use to consumers and faster transaction times and increased spending per transaction to issuers and merchants," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.

The need for education about the business drivers and security of the technology was a big reason to form the Council. "This new council will form one industry voice, including financial payments industry leaders and suppliers and reaching out to involve the merchant community as well. Our goal is to inform and educate the market about the value of contactless payment and work to address misconceptions about the capabilities and security of contactless technology," added Vanderhoof.

A contactless payment device contains a smart chip and an antenna. Instead of swiping a payment card or handing a card to a cashier, consumers simply hold the contactless device next to a contactless payment terminal and the payment is quickly processed. Recently, issuers representing all three major card brands, MasterCard, Visa and American Express, have launched contactless payment initiatives. Major fast food and convenience retailers, such as McDonald's, 7-Eleven and CVS/pharmacy, have also committed to deploying new point-of-sale terminals to accept the new contactless payment devices.

The Contactless Payments Council's projects will include web briefings, workshops at trade shows and the development of white papers and case studies. As a first priority, the Council will be developing short briefings to address areas that are widely misunderstood -- notably, how contactless payments deliver additional benefits for payment transactions; what security features are designed into the new contactless payment programs; and what the differences are between RFID technology and the new technologies and methods used to implement secure contactless payments.

The initial co-chairs of the Council are Francine Dubois, Oberthur Card Systems; Wendy Humphrey, First Data Corporation and Mohammad Khan, ViVOtech. The Council will be managed by a steering committee composed of a cross section of the financial payments industry and contactless smart chip technology vendors. Steering committee participants are:

--  American Express, Gail Francolini
--  Atmel Corporation, Ian Duthie
--  Axalto, Rahul Gadkari
--  First Data Corporation, Wendy Humphrey
--  Gemplus, Ernie Berger
--  IBM, Mike Weekes
--  JCB International Credit Card Co., Julie Krueger
--  MasterCard International, Ken Moy
--  Oberthur Card Systems, Francine Dubois
--  SMART System Technologies, Inc., Michael Richardson
--  VeriFone, Rob Regan
--  Visa USA, Patrick Gauthier
--  ViVOtech, Inc., Mohammed Khan
    

Contactless payments in retail and transportation -- one of the most active and talked about initiatives for smart card use -- is prominent on the agenda of the Smart Card Alliance's 13th Fall Annual Conference at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, October 11 - 14, 2005. This premier event for North America has been expanded to cover opportunities emerging in Latin America and will showcase leaders and innovators in the use of smart cards across all industries and market segments in the Americas including government ID cards and e-passports, physical and logical access security, healthcare, mobile telecom and payments initiatives, all from the perspective of industry stakeholders.

Alliance Technology and Industry Councils

The Contactless Payments Council is one of several new Smart Card Alliance Technology and Industry Councils, a new type of focused group within the overall structure of the Alliance. These councils have been created to foster increased industry collaboration within a specified industry or market segment and produce tangible results, speeding smart card adoption and industry growth.

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology. Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart cards, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America. For more information please visit http://www.smartcardalliance.org.

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