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'Smart Cards' Are Coming

September 12, 2000|Edmund Sanders

Some of the nation's top credit card issuers are expected to announce shortly that they plan to issue chip-embedded "smart cards" to provide their customers with new services, particularly while shopping on the Internet. FleetBoston Financial will unveil its smart-card program today, company executives said. Last year, American Express became the first U.S. credit card issuer to offer smart cards. Fleet's new cards, dubbed Fusion, will look and act like traditional credit cards, but will also hold tiny computer chips, allowing them to be used to automatically fill out order forms at online shopping sites, to access loyalty programs and receive discounts. Visa International is expected to announce shortly the names of additional banks planning to offer smart cards. Though smart-card technology may make online shopping more secure, it will have limited use in the offline world because most U.S. retailers lack the terminals needed to read them. Consumers using the cards will need to buy their own smart-card readers, which can cost up to $20.

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