Selected Press Releases As Smart Cards
Continue to Emerge in June 2006

Led by Belgium, citizen smart cards in Europe forge on

Tuesday, June 20 2006 - CR80 News

By Marisa Torrieri, Contributing Editor

While some countries continue to debate national ID cards, citizen smart card initiatives in some European countries are well underway. Technology players are working to secure contracts to provide services to card-holding citizens, many with an eye on what’s happening in Belgium – the European nation that is seen as the model for smart-card deployment.

Despite a few initial delays, Belgium is becoming the first European country to standardize the electronic identity card. By the end of 2009, every Belgian citizen will be required to own an e-ID card –11 million cards, according to most counts. To meet this requirement, close to 10 million cards will be issued to the country’s citizens over the next three to five years.

“Belgium is seen as the place where e-ID serves as an important tool in the promotion of knowledge,” says Gilbert Leung, a sales manager with ACS, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of card readers that is providing more than 100,000 smart card readers for the Belgium project.

“Being one of the first countries to have implemented a national ID card, Belgium is a good place where information about national e-ID systems could be discussed. Other corporations, including Microsoft and Adobe, see Belgium as a breeding ground for EID applications,” Mr. Leung says. A number of companies, including Zetes and Sun Microsystems, also have big stakes in the European nation’s smart initiatives.

But the initial success in Belgium hasn’t come without its challenges.

To many, Belgium is a leader not only for implementing the national ID program, but for getting past initial challenges … and for the most part convincing the wary public that government-issued IDs won't disrupt personal privacy.

"Belgium is a very forward-thinking country," says Neville Pattinson, of the newly merged Gemalto (formerly Gemplus and Axalto), who has been working with smart cards in the U.S. and overseas since 1996. Each country, adds Mr. Pattinson, "(has) unique challenges balancing politics and citizen privacy."

Many national identity schemes are undergoing huge public policy debates, and only when citizens' trust has been established the programs will move forward.

In the U.K., concerns over personal privacy issues (and suspicions over government motivations) have slowed plans for national smart-ID cards. The U.S., with The Real ID initiatives, is now determining the next generation of state government issued ID cards, and whether or not they contain smart-card technology, notes Mr. Pattinson.

Still other projects struggle based on citizen acceptance, be that due to privacy concerns, security issues, or simple consumer demand. “Other smart card projects in Europe are experiencing some problems,” explains Mr. Leung. “The French health card system project is receiving lots of criticism because of some security issues. As for the German health card project, they are still in the testing phase. They have yet to start implementing in fear of very low usage rates in the future.”

The Belgium e-ID program, however, "has been a very successful program in addressing the needs of the government for incorporating several applications for identity services. They've managed to combine several applications on their e-platform,” says Mr. Pattinson. “Without the chip they couldn't have done that, so the benefit of having a secure computing device has enabled that capability.”

But for now, while contractors line up at the foot of Europe, waiting for a chance to get in on the action, it’s still very much a game of wait-and-see, when it comes to the pace of deployment – with technology, and its ability to meet current needs of citizens elsewhere.

"In embarking on any credentialing program, you need to define the applications you will deploy to provide benefit to the government and the citizens,” says Mr. Pattinson. “Are they trying to reduce document fraud, identity theft? Increase the security to online applications? These are all applications that smart card technology securely enables.”

Public-private schemes get more value from smartcards
Government bodies and private firms should work together to encourage more use of smartcards, says ActivIdentity

Phil Muncaster, IT Week 20 Jun 2006

Smartcard systems could generate greater efficiencies and cost savings if public sector bodies and private enterprises worked together more closely, according to a leading digital identity technology firm.

Retailers, service providers and local authorities that issue smartcards to customers and users might, for example, benefit from lower costs by having a unified system for physical and IT access, said ActivIdentity general manager Marc Hudavert.

"The potential benefits of stronger identity authentication technologies are immense," said Hudavert. "[They] encompass increased efficiency and better access to public services for all – it comes down to a relationship and partnership between local government and private enterprise."

A good example of a joint public and private smartcard initiative is the North East Regional Smartcard Consortium (Nersc) set up by Sunderland City Council, said Hudavert. Under this scheme, local students and some firms' employees access their buildings and IT networks by using the cards, and citizens use the cards for local amenities and public transport and to buy football tickets through an e-ticketing capability.

Hudavert said that such initiatives are more likely to succeed if they are implemented on a small scale, and are likely to attract more interest as organisations see the benefits of successful examples such as the Nersc scheme.

On the topic of security, Hudavert said UK financial institutions have been slow to adopt two-factor authentication standards to reduce online fraud.

"This technology has been blessed by Europay, Mastercard and Visa [EMV] and can happen now but the only reason it hasn't is that the banks have been slow," said Hudavert. "Some banks are looking at [implementing it via] a managed service and this could actually speed up the process because it will lighten the burden [on them]."

Nine arrested in debit card fraud ring
One hundred officers bust multimillion dollar fraud ring

The Canadian Press Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MONTREAL -- Nine people have been arrested after 100 police officers busted a multimillion dollar debit and credit card fraud ring that involved convenience stores and small grocery stores.

Quebec provincial police said Tuesday that some 18,000 people were defrauded in the scam, which rang up several million in fraudulent transactions.

Cloning debt cards is a growing problem because the technology is becoming more sophisticated, a news conference was told.

The debit and credit cards were cloned at more than 40 stores in the Montreal area with modified Interac keypads, police said.

Capt. Michel Forget called it an "evolution in crime.''

"These criminals have grown up with technology,'' he said.

The police investigation began after a complaint from a Desjardins credit union about a possible case of fraud.

Police displayed the scanning units used to clone the cards in effort to make the public more aware of how debit-card fraud is committed.

Doha Bank unveils ‘Dream Program’

Web posted at: 6/20/2006 7:18:7

Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA • Doha Bank yesterday announced the re-launch of credit card business under the brand name 'Dream'. The bank also launched 'Dream Rewards Program' and 'Dream Card Acquiring Service' as part of this initiative.

Through the 'Dream Rewards Program', Doha Bank's customers will earn 'Dream Reward Points' for every riyal spent through their credit cards. The 'Dream Points' earned by the customers can be redeemed for purchases at member merchant outlets apart from the 'cash-back option' wherein the customer's card account will be credited with the value of 'Dream Rewards Points' earned.

"This Dream Rewards Program allows our customers to earn points for card spends and provides instant redemption at our merchant outlets".

Under the 'Program', Doha Bank's credit card customers will earn one point for every QR4 spent on their card. Accumulated points can be redeemed at member merchant outlets and at Doha Bank. Unlike other loyalty programmes that are voucher-based or multi-card based, Doha Bank's loyalty programme operates through a single multi-functional chip card. Customers will able to view their rewards point balance immediately on using their card for purchases at member outlets of the Bank.

"Our customers will able to redeem their points to purchase air tickets from the airlines of their choice through our participating travel merchant outlets" said R Seetharaman.

Unlike the normal loyalty programmes Doha Bank customers will able to buy air tickets from the airline of their choice. This unique option eliminates limitations such as limited seat availability, restricted choice of airlines associated with the normal reward programs

"Our customers have already started accumulating the 'Dream Points' from June 1, 2006 onwards and soon we will issue EMV compliance chip cards to our customers" said Abdul Rahman Moh'd Al Meer, Executive Manager and Head of Retail Banking Division of Doha Bank. "Doha Bank will be the first bank in the country to introduce multi-application chip card with loyalty and card financial application in one single card. One single card for purchases and earning rewards is convenient and easy to operate".

Doha Bank also announced the official launch of 'Dream Card Acquiring Service' on this occasion. This is the credit and debit card acquiring solution extended to the merchant partners in Qatar. The Bank uses the state-of-art Point of Sale Machines that is EMV (Euro/Master/Visa) compliant for the card acquiring business.

"With our POS machines, our merchant partners can also run a parallel loyalty programme in addition to the Bank's loyalty programme without investing in a dedicated system" said R Seetharaman.

"Now our member merchants wishing to run a loyalty/promotional campaign of their own need not have to invest time and money in developing a system to support such campaign. All they need is Doha Bank's Point of Sale terminal and the rest will be managed by Doha Bank. This is yet another first in the country and we believe in 'Win-Win' partnership with our business associates and customers".

With Doha Bank's Point of Sale Machines the member merchants will able to run a promotional campaign that are specific to their outlets and customers in addition to the bank's loyalty programme.

A Quicker Ca-Ching!

Chase becomes first Visa issuer to offer contactless debit card -- faster, safer than cash

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 20, 2006--Chase, the consumer banking brand of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), today announced the rollout of 1.8 million Visa debit cards with blink technology to make purchases faster for its customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Chase, which introduced credit cards with blink in New York last fall, is the first Visa issuer to offer contactless payment capability on debit cards, which deduct purchases directly from a customer's checking account. Cardholders can make purchases by simply holding the card close to a participating merchant's card reader at checkout. About 2,000 merchant locations in the New York/Tri-state area and more than 30,000 in the U.S. are equipped to accept blink payments.

"Blink allows consumers to make purchases faster, cutting down the time waiting in line or fumbling with cash," said Michael Cleary, Chief Operating Officer of Chase's Consumer Bank. "Our credit card customers have really liked blink, so we're bringing the same convenience to our Tri-State debit card customers."

More than seven million Chase customers currently have credit cards with blink.

1.8 million new Visa cards

Blink is being introduced to checking account customers as Chase reissues 1.8 million debit cards in the New York/Tri-State area, switching to the Visa mark. All Chase debit cards, except the Chase Continental Airlines card, will now carry the Visa logo.

Chase's customers began receiving the new debit cards with blink in the mail last month and mailings will continue through June.

Faster and safer than cash

U.S. consumers now use debit cards to make purchases just as often as they use cash, and debit card use continues to grow. In the Tri-State area, sales volume for Visa Check Card alone increased 17.5% in May 2006, compared to May 2005. Chase debit cards with blink offer a faster and safer alternative to cash, making debit cards even more convenient for customers to use.

Transactions made using cards with blink:

-- Eliminate the time customers spend waiting for cashiers to make change;

-- Are completed up to 25% faster than those done with cash; and

-- Can be up to 40% faster than other payment methods at locations such as quick-service restaurants, drive-thrus, convenience stores and movie theaters.

When using the blink functionality, the Chase debit card must be held within one to two inches of a card reader to conduct a transaction, minimizing the possibility of an unintended purchase. The card readers have a built-in safeguard that prevents more than one card from being read at a time, and purchases above $25 require a signature as an extra security measure.

The radio frequency technology that drives blink uses the highest level of encryption allowed by the U.S. government, and the card's RF chip contains the same minimal amount of personal information as the traditional magnetic stripe cards.

Other consumer safety benefits of cards with blink include:

-- Zero liability for fraudulent transactions;

-- Quick replacement of lost or stolen cards;

-- The ability to track account details online at;

-- No need to hand over the card to a cashier;

-- No risk of an accidental card reading because consumers must hold the card within 1 to 2 inches of a reader to conduct a transaction.

"Blink gives customers a quicker, safer and more convenient way to use the cash in their checking accounts to make purchases," Cleary said.

The blink debit card also has a magnetic stripe and can be used with a PIN at ATMs to get cash or at the more than 22 million merchants worldwide that accept Visa.

Dudley Council to trial smart cards
Local authority tests combined system for access to leisure services

James Brown,

Computing 19 Jun 2006

Dudley Borough Council hais trialling a smart card system to help citizens access library and leisure facilities.

If successful, the cards will be used for numerous council services including library cards, accessing council internet connections or booking a slot at a leisure facility.

Councillor Charles MacNamara, cabinet member for leisure and culture at the council, says residents will only need to carry one card to access services.   'This will mean a more efficient and cost-effective way of storing data and also means that local people will only need to carry round one card to access a range of services,' he said.

The council hopes the scheme will help it save money by issuing less cards to people, helping to meet government efficiency targets.

Assuming the pilot is successful, the scheme will be offered to all residents later in the year.  'We then hope to develop it further, enabling people able to access more council services through it, such as Castle & Crystal credit union, and ultimately be able to use it at any Smart Card point across the Black Country,' he said

3.2 million World Cup tickets RFID chipped
Counterfeiters and touts beware...

By Jo Best

Published: Monday 19 June 2006

Visitors to the 2006 World Cup may not know it but each and every ticket holder will be carrying an RFID tag.

All of the 3.2 million tickets issued for this year's tournament will come equipped with an RFID chip inside, which is scanned whenever a fan arrives at the gates of any of the 12 stadiums.

According to Philips, which supplied the RFID tech, the track-and-trace chips have been included in the tickets to combat counterfeiting and ensure only those with legitimate tickets can get in to watch the matches.

If you want a 100 per cent guarantee, you need to apply biometrics.
Each of the tickets is now personalised with the holder's name in an effort to stop touting and prevent hooligans from getting access to World Cup matches.

Cord Bartels, business development manager at Philips, said the tickets are "bulletproof" but admitted that without installing more privacy-invasive measures, it would be impossible to kill off the black market in World Cup tickets altogether.

He told "If you want a 100 per cent guarantee, you need to apply biometrics but this isn't in the scope of the events at the moment." Currently, the RFID chip is linked to a reference number and holds no personal information "to avoid conversations about privacy", according to Bartels.

Other uses for the smart card style technology were mooted, including extending the functionality to allow punters to buy refreshments or parking permits with contactless payments but were eventually rejected.

Bartels added: "With the technology it's possible to do more than [ticketing] but it's quite complex and it was decided at a certain point to reduce it to just this."

Nevertheless, the RFID technology is likely to live on beyond the July final, with many of the stadiums expected to continue using the technology for ticketing domestic games.

Wells Fargo To Issue Visa Contactless Cards, Says No To PayPass

(2006-06-15) Card Technology

Wells Fargo & Co. announced it will issue two contactless Visa credit cards, making the San Francisco-based issuer the first West Coast bank to do so.

It will begin issuing the Visa Platinum Card and the Visa Signature Card in the second half of the year to bank customers, Peter Ho, Wells Fargo Card Services vice president and product manager, said in a statement.

Wells does not plan to issue the PayPass contactless product from MasterCard International, according to a spokesperson. Wells says it is too early to predict how many Visa contactless cards it will issue. "Select customers will receive contactless cards as replacements for platinum and Signature cards, expiring later this year," the spokesperson says.

Wells Fargo is not typically an aggressive marketer of credit cards though its receivables topped $17 billion last year. Contactless cards, accepted at 30,000 U.S. merchant locations, are promoted as a fast way to pay for low-value purchases, such as at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Many Major League Baseball concession stands also are accepting contactless cards.

With the introduction of Visa Platinum and Visa Signature, contactless cards have moved upscale. Visa Signature is issued to households with a minimum annual income of $125,000. Wells Fargo is addressing security concerns on its contactless cards with WellsProtect, a built-in security system

Wells says protects cardholders from unauthorized transactions. Visa USA says some 5 million Visa cards worldwide have the contactless feature.

Korea's Samsung S1 brings chip cost down further with Visa International

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, June 11 - 2006 at 14:10 GMT+4

Samsung S1 Corporation, Korea's largest total security system provider, has joined Visa's Smart Breakthrough (VSB) card program, an initiative by Visa International designed to help accelerate the adoption of chip technology and bring safe and sophisticated payment to cardholders and merchants.

Visa members in reducing costs and improving efficiencies. A key step that S1 has taken is the development of a smart card priced at US 89 cents last year, the lowest in the industry. The newly developed TiEx-8J is a Java-based chip card that is EMV compliant. The TiEx-8J can store up to 10 bank accounts-worth of information, and includes the functionality of both credit and debit cards.

'S1 has differentiated itself from other competitors to offer our customers an innovative product at a lower cost. One of S1's goals is to support the rapid migration to smart cards and we will continue to work with our customers to provide even more innovative products,' said Taeho Kim, SmartCard team leader at Samsung S1.

Visa's Smart Breakthrough programme is designed to allow even the smallest of Visa's member banks to benefit from process associated with bulk orders. The programme covers chip cards, chip terminals and chip card personalisation devices.

With on-going overseas marketing and promotion efforts, combined with Visa's Smart Breakthrough Card Program, S1's vision is to become one of the world's top five smart-card companies by 2010. Last year in Korea, S1 provided 6.5 million smart cards to BC Card, Standard Chartered First Bank and other financial institutions.

YC Kim, Country Manager for Visa Korea said, 'Visa's partnership with Samsung S1 delivers on the promise of innovative, flexible and interoperable smart products that meet global standards. Visa member financial institutions, merchants and cardholders will benefit from Samsung S1's contribution.'

From his end, Said Shuqom, Visa International General Manager for the Levant commented on the new development, stating: "Our partnership with Samsung is only one of the many ways in which we work to assist our banks. Chip cards will make Visa card payments event safer and our collaboration with Samsung will allow cardholders and merchants in the Levant to have access to the most advanced technologies."

Sex workers go smart with cards

K Raghu

Sunday, June 18, 2006 23:17 IST

BANGALORE: Under a project facilitated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, about 500 sex workers in Mysore own chip-embedded smart cards, which when presented during transactions help them get discounts at select shops and hotels and earn them loyalty points that can be redeemed for discounts on later purchases. The shopping basket can include provisions, food at restaurants and clothes.

But the card serves another purpose. It has the medical record of the sex worker, who has to compulsorily get his or her health check up at a clinic once in three months. The card becomes inactive if the holder fails to do this. The sex workers will be checked for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and treatment provided if necessary.

The vendors and the health specialists are provided with Simputer, the homegrown handheld device developed by scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), to bridge the digital divide and the data is stored in real time at a central server to maintain confidentiality.

The encrypted card bars access of health records by traders, while doctors cannot find out the business transaction details. “Sex workers face stigma and discrimination in their daily life. The smart card is a symbol of self-esteem that creates a sense of inclusion for them in the society,” Ratna, a community member at Ashodaya, a non-government organisation (NGO) that works on AIDS, said.

The smart card initiative is being implemented by Ashodaya Women’s Co-ordination Committee, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) and Pennant Consulting Services.

KHPT reaches about 1400 female and around 200 male sex workers active in Mysore city and most of them conduct their business during the day. They earn anywhere between Rs200 and Rs1,500 a day. “It is not uncommon for us to buy as many as three new saris a month. Looking attractive is essential in our trade,” Pushpa, a sex worker, said. KHPT officials said that the smart card initiative came from discussion with the sex workers, who identified an incentive of discounts with a health card to be a better alternative than a pure health card.

June 15, 2006, 9:55AM (PRN)

EDS Delivers 10 Millionth Smart Card to Department of Defense; Wins New GSA Contract to Help Boost Security


HERNDON, Va., June 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Responding to the global security needs of the American military, EDS (NYSE: EDS) today announced it has delivered the 10 millionth smart card to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) under an aggressive five-year-old global security program managed by the Defense Manpower Data Center. It is the largest federal government advanced smart card program.

EDS also announced it has been awarded a new contract by the General Services Administration to provide additional smart cards to DoD and has received an initial delivery order for 1.25 million cards.

The Java-based smart cards, known as common access or CAC cards, are provided to active duty, reserve, National Guard and DoD civilian personnel and provide authorized users physical access to military sites worldwide and need-to-know entry onto DoD networks and computer systems.

The cards combine identification, physical access and computer access capabilities on a single computer chip and help control access to more than 950 military facilities in the United States and 27 countries throughout the globe.

"The DoD CAC is the department's enterprise identity token that promotes interoperability, security and common business processes for computer and physical access worldwide," said DMDC Deputy Director Mary Dixon.

As the prime integrator for the program, EDS developed and deployed the common access card solution with DMDC beginning in 2001. The company and DMDC work closely to issue the cards, monitor the current database of existing cards and collect the cards when military members leave the service or no longer are required access to certain facilities.

"Both the 10 millionth DoD smart card and the new GSA contract are key milestones because they underscore EDS' long-term leadership in the global identity management sector," said Jim Duffey, general manager, EDS U.S. Public Sector. "We have helped visionary agencies like DMDC aggressively implement programs that have kept our military and their vital facilities safe.

"We look forward to helping both military and civilian agencies deploy this technology and our end-to-end authentication solutions to their employees around the world and assist them in meeting HSPD-12 requirements."

EDS has been the primary IT provider to DMDC for more than two decades. It also is a founding member of the Federation for Identity Cross-Credentialing Systems, an industry-formed consortium working with DoD on secure military installation access by defense contractors.

RBS trials contactless RFID-style debit cards
1,000-staff pilot in retail outlets at bank's Edinburgh HQ

By Andy McCue

Published: Thursday 15 June 2006

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and MasterCard are to trial an RFID-based contactless debit card to replace cash for low-value payments.

The trial of the Oyster Card-style payment system begins next week at RBS' head office campus in Edinburgh, which contains a number of retail outlets for its 3,000 staff based there.

The retail stores taking part include Starbucks and Tesco Express. The bank said 1,000 staff have so far applied for one of the specially adapted Maestro chip and PIN debit cards.

An aerial in the card transmits the data to a reader at the retail store and RBS staff taking part in the pilot project will only have to wave their debit card against the reader when paying for goods instead of signing a receipt or entering a PIN number.

RBS spokesman David Outhwaite told "It means consumers don't need to have a pocket full of change and it's a speedier system for retailers."

The system will only be available for transactions up to £10 and there will be random security checks where users will be asked to enter their PIN number to confirm they are the cardholder.

The MasterCard-led initiative has been trialled elsewhere around the world but the RBS pilot, which is due to run for the rest of the year, is the first time it has been used in the UK.

Outhwaite said the aim of the trial is to look at eliminating the need for money for low-value transactions as part of the move towards a "cashless society".

He said: "It's to see how UK consumers use it and how it works in different environments."

What's So Secure About Social Security Numbers?

Jun 15, 2006 By Gina M. Scott

A Social Security Number (SSN) is essential to employment, to pay taxes, to even get a drivers license. But how secure is all the information connected to that number? In the move to a paperless society, those SSNs are put into databases and held on servers around the globe. With other personal information tacked to them, they are attractive targets for a hacker or a laptop thief.

With the latest SSN and personal data thefts, the privacy of citizens is at issue, and identity theft cases are becoming high profile. On June 9th the Georgia Merit System announced that a file was hacked which contained the names, SSNs and locations of 12,000 active Georgia state employees. Although officials are unsure if information was downloaded, the point is that the information was accessed.

Like the recent theft of information on U.S. military personnel and families, the Department of Energy announced on June 11th that the names, SSNs, birthdates and phone numbers of 4,000 employees was found in a home in Washington state during an unrelated police investigation. It is unclear how this list came to be in the home, and investigations are still under way.

According to Gartner "it [is] clear that Social Security numbers can no longer be relied on as proof of identity." The fact is that SSNs are used for many everyday purposes, and the security of databases containing them is not reliable. Perhaps it is time to upgrade our technology.

There are several options. One being the Smart Card. This card is designed with a chip which can be loaded with the necessary personal information, and then read by authorized scanners. As with any new technology there is still some controversy. The proximity style smart card requires that the card is only in close range of a scanner, begging the question of who might be reading the signal. But the contact style card, which is inserted into a scanner in much the same way as an ATM, is seen as a more secure form.

Smart cards are beginning to be used in the medical industry in Europe, primarily Germany. At the May Government Technology Conference in Sacramento, Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin Governor and former Secretary of Health and Human Services, spoke about the use of these cards to hold vital health information. "The technology is there, we should have it" he said while showing a card which contained his personal medical information.

Such cards could securely hold personal information while also verifying identification. Of course, cards can be lost or stolen, but can be replaced without the loss of data on thousands of individuals. Smart cards could also have multiple applications such as credit, driving, passports, medical and more.

Chris aims for a postal revolution

Jun 12 2006

By Andrew Heath

A FORMER Warwickshire postie has come up with a first-class design which may signal the beginning of the end for pre-paid stamps.   Design and marketing student Chris Banks came up with the idea for a smart card-activated post box as part of his final year degree course at the University of Derby.

According to the 25-year-old, of Catesby Avenue, Rugby, his design could revolutionise the way we send letters, improve postal security and reduce injuries for his former colleagues.   And Royal Mail bosses have told him they are looking at his ideas.  Under Chris's proposals, anyone sending letters will be issued with a chip card which they would push into a cashpoint-style keypad whenever they want to post a letter.  After typing in a pin number, the card will open a secure flap, weigh the letter and charge customers who have signed up according to whether they want to use first or second class.

At the end of the month people will pay for their post by direct debit. Chris was a postman in his home town for three years. His plans would change the post box interior from a cage to a system of inter-changeable boxes so posties would not have to strain under as much weight when emptying them.  And their 150-year-old design would be tweaked into a sleek modern look, while vandalism and risk of damage to post will be eliminated by the secure flap.  He said: "I just noticed there were a few things wrong with the system. It is a 350-year-old business and it needed updating.  "It means you could go to a post box and post a letter without a pre-paid postage stamp.  "I believe stamps will become like cash and become a thing of the past. In the end we will all use cards."

Chris, whose dad still lives in Rugby, added: "It will be a 'pay as you weigh' system where you can go to the Post Office, hand in your bank details and pay at the end of the month for your post.  "I have got a lot of publicity from the media. Royal Mail have contacted me and say they are looking into it.

Royal Mail's External Relations Manager Sue Dakin said: "We are always looking for ways of improving our service. Chris's design concept would certainly seem to have some interesting features and we look forward to receiving his proposal."  Having applied for a patent for his idea, Chris's design is on display at his university's end-of-year arts, design and technology degree show.

Mobile Payment to Become Available at Credit Card Member Stores

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 Korea IT news

By Seo Han

A mobile payment environment adopting mobile phones installed with radio frequency (RF) cards will likely become available by the second half of this year. In early next year, universal subscriber identification module (USIM) cards used for 3G handsets (WCDMA/HSDPA) will also be added with RF payment features, ushering in the mobile-finance-telecoms convergence era.

Three wireless operators, SK Telecom, KTF and LG Telecom have decided to launch the so-called ¡®Mobile Touch¡¯ service adopting RF chip cards in the second half of this year in league with some 150,000 member stores including E-Mart, Family Mart, Shinsegae Department Store, Mega Mart, Kyobo Bookstore, Marche and Crown Bakery.

SK Telecom and KTF plan to link RF features with USIM chip cards installed in WCDMA/HSDPA handsets, delivering the world¡¯s first RF in USIM cards mainly used for subscriber identification and global roaming.

"Early HSDPA handsets will not come with financial services features, but such functions will be incorporated into chips by the end of this year," said a manager at KTF. "This will mark the first adoption of financial services features into 3G wireless communication."

The two wireless operators are also seeking to increase the number of RF-enabled mobile phones to 10 million units by late this year. LG Telecom also expects the number of "Bank On" handsets with RF functions to be around 1.4 million by the end of this year.

SK Telecom and KTF plan to expand the adoption of "Mobile Touch" service from Samsung Card into 6 credit card companies, establishing a mobile financial services environment where more than 10 million consumers use their mobile phones for payment at some 150,000 credit card member stores.

"Korea has been leading adoption of mobile financial services technologies, and wireless operators need to make concerted efforts," said a manager at SK Telecom. "We are also mulling over installing a chip card into mobile phone in line with slimming of handsts."

JCB to trial mobile contactless payment scheme in Europe 13/6/2006

Japanese card issuer JCB says it will conduct trials of its mobile contactless payments technology in Amsterdam this autumn.
JCB says the pilot will mark the first implementation of a contactless credit card payment scheme in Europe.

Selected JCB customers will be supplied with a Nokia mobile phone equipped with Philips' NFC (near field communication) chips and loaded with JCB's contactless payment application.

Customers will be able to use the phones to pay for small-value purchases at participating merchants. In the first stage of the pilot, JCB says it will be targeting approximately 100 cardmembers located in Amsterdam and merchants in and around the city's World Trade Centre.

Hajime Matsuura, branch mmanager at JCB International's Amsterdam Branch, says the mobile payments service is the most useful and convenient method for cardmembers to pay small charges ranging from parking to supermarket purchases.

"We are confident that it will enable us to expand our business scope to the smaller amount transactions, as well as to extend a higher level of services to our cardmembers," says Matsuura.

JCB says the pilot is primarily designed to evaluate technological aspects and operational feasibility including customer ease-of-use.

Gemplus will develop the mobile payment application and the associated personalisation system, while Dutch telecoms operator KPN will add the application to the Nokia NFC mobile phones. CCV Holland and Vivotech are also involved in the project and will deploy the contactless EMV readers, while PaySquare will provide merchant acquiring services.

Smart card cost debated

Jun. 12, 2006. 01:00 AM Toronto Star


Taxpayers across Ontario may have to pay to upgrade fare collection systems on the TTC, say some members of GO Transit's board of directors.

GO Transit is working on a partnership with the GTA's municipal systems that would see riders use one smart card to pay fares on buses and trains from Hamilton to Oshawa. The cost of the project is to be split among the nine transit systems operating in the GTA.

But Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, who is also a GO board member, said she's worried that Toronto won't end up paying its share.

"When they finally want to go ahead with it, the province will fund it, and they're not funding ours," she said at Friday's GO Transit board meeting.

Toronto, for now, has decided not to come on board with the integrated fare system. McCallion said that when all the other cities do, commuters in Toronto will pressure the TTC to adapt and the province will end up footing the bill.

The TTC has argued that, as the largest transit provider in the GTA, a smart card system will cost it millions.

GO Transit CEO Gary McNeil said the TTC has been adamant it has to take care of more immediate priorities, like getting more buses on the road, before it goes ahead with any such plan.

"But," countered McCallion, "we'd like to get more buses operating, too."

The project is expected to cost GO $23 million to $25 million, though the province, which is overseeing the project, won't say what the final cost will be.

ISOs And NFC Specs Lend Impetus to Contactless Payment Trend

(June 8, 2006)

New technical specifications for so-called near-field communication (NFC), released this week by an international rules-setting body backing the technology, should add momentum in the U.S. to the trend toward contactless payments on mobile phones. “A lot’s happening behind closed doors,” says Erik Michielsen, director of RFID and M2M research at ABI Research, Oyster Bay, N.Y. “I expect to see a lot more payment trials and connectivity trials in 2006.” At the same time, independent sales organizations are showing signs of responding to merchant and consumer interest in wave-and-pay technology generally, with at least two ISOs now adding contactless readers to their offerings of free gear for merchants.

This week, Acies Corp., an ISO based in New York, announced it will supply merchants with the ViVOtech 4000 reader for contactless transactions at no charge during the month of June. It’s also starting a series of monthly teleseminars for smaller ISOs on contactless payments. Meanwhile, United Bank Card Inc., a Hampton, N.J.-based ISO that late in 2004 kicked off what soon became a trend among larger ISOs toward free-equipment offers, began marketing free copies of the same ViVOtech device in April.

Also this week, the 2-year-old NFC Forum announced it had settled on its first five specifications governing how mobile devices can interact with readers or other devices for applications such as payments. The first two specifications, which will be released during the third quarter, define formats for data exchange and establish a record type definition (RTD), or what NFC experts call a “grammar,” for these interactions. The other three specifications, to come out later, cover RTDs for so-called smart posters, or advertising signs containing NFC chips with data that can be read by NFC devices, as well as for other applications. The forum, which claims some 80 technology vendors and payments networks among its international membership, also set out standards for so-called tag formats. Tags are the chips that NFC devices, such as phones or other tokens, can read. Three of the four new tag standards are based on the existing ISO 14443 standard followed by American Express Co., MasterCard Inc., and Visa USA in their contactless payment programs. The fourth is based on ISO 18092, the foundation of Sony Corp.’s FeliCa technology, which is used in Japan.

With standards beginning to fall into place, it should be easier for more vendors to begin supplying compliant devices that can operate across multiple programs, Michielsen says. “That will fuel the market” for NFC-based contactless payments because more vendors will mean more pilots, he says. As important, he points out, the standards help ensure so-called backward compatibility, meaning NFC-enabled handsets will work as payment devices with existing contactless readers, most of which now receive transactions from credit and debit cards embedded with chips and antennae . “People always ask, ‘Where’s the installed base, where can I use [NFC]?’” says Michielsen. “You can piggyback on the existing card-based infrastructure.” As a result, he says, the number of U.S. locations accepting NFC-enabled devices will reach 55,000 by year’s end, up from around 25,000 contactless locations now.

Altogether, Michielsen projects 12 to 15 NFC pilots by the end of the year. The only payments pilot for NFC so far began in December in Atlanta (Digital Transactions News, Dec. 14, 2005), involving Visa as well as Cingular Wireless, Nokia, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., with Chase credit card accounts embedded in Nokia phones.

With contactless payment, cards or other tokens embedded with chip-and-antennae inlays can transmit via radio waves card data to point-of-sale receivers, thus bypassing the conventional card swipe. With NFC, which is a very short-range technology, mobile handsets can be leveraged to take the place of both payment cards and payment devices, sending as well as receiving payment data. NFC-enabled phones can also interact not only with point of sale readers but also with advertising posters and other such media to download digital goods, and can be provisioned over the air with new “cards” as well as coupons and other media.

Industry group challenges DHS PASS card stance

08 June 2006

In a challenge to the US Department of Homeland Security’s current position, industry group Smart Card Alliance has said that contactless smart card technology best meets the objectives of the proposed People Access Security Service (PASS) card program.

In a paper entitled - Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative PASS Card: Recommendations for Using Secure Contactless Technology vs. RFID - the Alliance disagrees with the current DHS technology choice of EPC Gen 2, a type of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology based on the Electronic Product Code Generation 2 (EPC Gen 2) specification.

According to the Alliance, this technology allows cards to be read at a distance of up to 30 feet, which raises security and privacy concerns.

To back up its position, the Alliance report presents alternative operational scenarios and concludes that contactless smart card technology best meets the objectives of the PASS card program, which are designed to secure US borders without compromising personal privacy or impeding the flow of people crossing the border.

Contactless smart card technology is different from radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. Contactless smart cards are designed for secure applications such as payment and secure identification of people. They contain a small but fully functioning microcomputer that can deliver the highest levels of security, and include built-in features that protect the contactless smart chip from a wide variety of attacks. In contrast, argues the Alliance, RFID technology is used in applications such as identifying animals, tracking goods through the supply chain, tracking assets such as gas bottles and beer kegs, and controlling access into buildings. RFID tags include a chip that typically stores only a static number (an ID) and an antenna that enables the chip to transmit the stored number to a reader. There is little to no security on the RFID tag or during communication with the reader.

Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, commented: “RFID chips are not designed for human identity applications, but are optimized for supply chain and other applications that need low-cost, electronic identifiers that serve as a replacement for barcodes. In contrast, contactless smart card technology is widely used in secure identification cards and travel documents, supporting the level of security functionality required for protecting individual privacy.”

The Alliance highlights many advantages to using contactless smart card technology for the WHTI PASS card program, including the ability to support electronic verification of authenticity to prevent counterfeiting and to use secure, encrypted communications to thwart eavesdropping and replay attacks, and ensure privacy protection for cardholders. A WHTI PASS card based on contactless smart chip technology can also leverage the infrastructure that is being put in place by DHS and the Department of State to support the new ePassport. Using the same secure contactless technology for the PASS card and ePassport could potentially decrease the implementation time and lower the cost of the program.

The paper is available free of charge and may be accessed from the Smart Card Alliance web site:

Israel To Launch Contactless Transit-Fare Cards

Card Technology (2006-06-07)

The Israeli government plans to introduce a contactless fare-payment system for all public transit in the country, and Israel-based On Track Innovations Ltd. has received a contract to supply contactless smart cards for use in the program. Ohad Bashan, president and CEO of OTI America, OTI's U.S. subsidiary, tells Card Technology sister publication CardLine Europe that the program will let passengers use the same card to pay fares on Egged, Israel's national bus company; Dan, the bus company that serves the Tel Aviv area; and Israel Railways, the country's national train system. In addition, Bashan says, the government hopes to integrate planned light-rail systems in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem into the program as well. "We are starting to deliver product next quarter, but the timeline for the exact implementation of all the programs can only be provided by the government," Bashan says.

The Guardian 7 June, 2006

Childcare Smart Card invites backdoor surveillance

Jules Andrews

The new childcare "Smart Card" announced by the Howard Government last week amounts to yet another method of tracking and surveillance of Australians, and a back-door introduction of a compulsory national ID card.

When the Howard Government recently announced its proposal for a new Centrelink Smart Card Ministers went to great length to emphasise the card would not be a national ID card.

The Government stressed the card would be "non-compulsory" — except for those who wished to claim benefits from Centrelink. When Family Benefit, Unemployment Benefit, Disability Pensions, Aged Pension and Single Parent Pensions are taken into account — this "non-compulsory" card then becomes compulsory for 10 million Australians — 50 percent of the population.

When asked a direct question by Democrat Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja on whether the bio-metric data on the Smartcard would be used to spy on the public in conjunction with closed-circuit television — for example, using the photo on the card in order to utilise facial-recognition tracking devices — the best answer the Government could come up with was "there are no plans at this stage to link the two".

Less than a month later the Federal Government has now announced another "non-compulsory" Smartcard — to be obligatorily used by all parents who wish to access childcare.

Mal Brough, Minister for Families and Community Services, insists: "The introduction of the system would provide more information than ever before on childcare availability, supply and use. Services would benefit from streamlined processes and less administrative burden. It would improve efficiency and accountability across the child care sector."

However, the "use" of the card will allow the Government to track the whereabouts of Australian children. Once the Government has gone to the trouble of setting up a database to track every Australian infant, it is surely unlikely then to abandon this tracking once the child turns five and enters primary school.

Added to the Government’s recent announcement that it intends to withdraw Centrelink payments from people deemed "bad parents" — including the failure of children to attend school — the opportunity to link the two "systems" must be irresistible.

The idea that the Federal Government will actually go to the trouble of requiring two separate cards is unthinkable — these two functions will inevitably be rolled into the one card and will be another step down the path of a "compulsory ID card for all".

Taiwanese Bank To Issue PayPass Watches

Card Technology (2006-06-05)

Taiwan-based Chinatrust Commercial Bank is issuing 3,000 watches that come embedded with a microchip and can be used to make payments through MasterCard International's contactless PayPass system. The watches are decorated with images of soccer balls and are part of a one-to-two month bank marketing effort tied to the World Cup football tournament, which begins in Germany on Friday. Consumers will be able to make a payment by waving their wrists in front of a contactless reader. The chips are located in the back of the watch, a MasterCard spokesperson says. MasterCard says the bank's program will mark the first time that a watch has been equipped with the PayPass technology. The bank also will issue contactless credit cards alongside the watches, MasterCard says. LAKS GmbH, an Austria-based watchmaker, is manufacturing the watches, while the chip technology comes from On Track Innovations Ltd., an Israeli company. In May, OTI announced that another Taiwanese bank, Taipei Fubon Bank, would issue PayPass-compatible key fobs in the shape of soccer balls in the run-up to the World Cup.

Chinatrust and MasterCard launch PayPass contactless payments watch

5th June 2006

By Leah Vyse

Chinatrust Commercial Bank has unveiled its MasterCard PayPass Contactless payment feature on a soccer-themed watch ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
The watch, which provides consumers with an alternative to cash, has been created in a collaboration between Chinatrust, MasterCard, LAKS (a well-known Austrian watchmaker) and On Track Innovations (OTI), producer of contactless microprocessor-based smartcard solutions.

The limited edition World Cup PayPass watch is being issued as a companion device to MasterCard credit cards. Consumers can use the PayPass for purchases under $25 but purchases over this amount will require a signature and a receipt.   The technology works when users tap their PayPass-enabled card or device, such as these watches, on the PayPass reader at participating merchants.  "Taiwan is an early adopter of technology and is one of the leading markets in the region to implement contactless gives us great pleasure to collaborate with key industry players to launch yet another global first," said Tina Chiang, vice president and business manager for MasterCard in China.

South African Retail Chain Begins Smart Card Conversion

Card Technology  (2006-06-06)

Shoprite Holdings Ltd., a South Africa-based supermarket chain, has begun to upgrade point-of-sale terminals at its 827 stores across Africa to accept chip cards that comply with EMV, the global payment standard for smart cards. The retailer is working with Prism Holdings Ltd., a South Africa-based card processor, to convert more than 10,000 POS terminals to accept EMV-complaint cards, Prism says in a statement. After a pilot at five stores, the retailer began a full-scale rollout of EMV-compliant personal identification number pads at all its checkout lanes last month, Prism says. According to Prism, Shoprite will use PIN pads manufactured by VeriFone Holdings, Inc., a U.S.-based POS terminal maker, in its EMV conversion. Prism has also added security software to Shoprite's POS system in order to meet the EMV standard's requirements for data encryption, the company says in its statement.

Lloyds TSB Joins Smart Card Parking Program

Card Technology (2006-06-06)

In London Lloyds TSB Cardnet, a merchant-acquiring joint venture between UK-based Lloyds TSB Bank Plc and U.S.-based card processor First Data Corp., soon will launch a smart card-based payment system for a London parking lot operator. Lloyds TSB Cardnet will join 3C Communications International S.A., a Luxembourg-based processor, and Central Parking System of UK Ltd. in providing the service to Masterpark, a parking service offered by the Westminster City Council in London, according to a 3C statement. In the statement, 3C says the payment system will allow users of Masterpark's 17 parking lots in central London to pay for parking with their credit or debit cards. The program will comply with the UK's recently introduced "chip-and-PIN" card system, which requires cardholders to enter a personal identification number rather than sign at the time of purchase. According to 3C, the Masterpark program will be the UK's first chip-and-PIN-enabled parking system.

Jun 5, 2006 3:19 pm US/Pacific

MTA Signs Contract To Operate Smart-Card Services

(CBS) LOS ANGELES The Metropolitan Transportation Authority moved one step closer to a paperless fare system Monday by entering into a five-year, $31.5 million contract with a Dallas firm to operate smart-card services.

The contract with Affiliated Computer Services Inc. will provide customer service for commuters using the Transit Access Pass, a plastic card that works like a debit card on bus and rail lines.

"Los Angeles County transit riders have been waiting a long time for a convenient, safe and easy way to travel seamlessly in the region and TAP offers this simplicity," Roger Snoble, chief executive officer of the MTA said.

The TAP cards will work on a variety of regional transit lines, including Foothill Transit; Montebello Municipal Bus Lines; Torrance Transit; Santa Clarita Transit; Antelope Valley Transit; Culver City Bus; Norwalk Transit; MetroLink; LA DOT; Gardena Municipal Bus Lines; and Long Beach Transit.

"All pass products and cash will be captured on one card so that our patrons won't need to worry about riding different operators or modes,” Snoble said.

It will be several years before MTA moves to a completely paperless system, according to Jane Matsumoto, Universal Fare System project manager.

"We are going to start transitioning little by little so this won't be a big bang," Matsumoto said.