Visa USA to launch smart card

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) -- After success with its smart card in Europe and Japan, Visa is aiming squarely at the U.S. market with an upgraded version that contains more memory.

Over the next couple of weeks, Visa USA, the company's U.S. division, will be launching smart cards -- microprocessors embedded in plastic --that will offer prepackaged services to be determined by its issuers.

Customers will be able to download information from their computers via special card readers.

Over the next year or so, they will be able to store airline tickets, for example, and eventually use the cards as keys to their cars and homes.

The card, which has 32 kilobytes of memory, is different from Visa's original version, which has mainly served as a ''monetary value card,'' said Al Banisch, senior vice president of consumer credit products.

The new card will be available free to Visa's 350 million cardholders.

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