HORSHAM, Pa. and SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Cardholders using a Visa smart card could soon be able to access new interactive services over their cable television network, according to Visa International and General Instrument Corporation (NYSE: GIC). Visa and General Instrument have signed a memorandum of understanding which would enable GI's broadband digital network system to accept Visa branded multi-function smart cards. Under a more definitive agreement, the Visa Open Platform would be made available to broadband network operators and integrated by GI for implementation on advanced interactive digital set-tops and systems. The Visa Open Platform is a flexible non-proprietary platform that enables the fast and easy development of globally interoperable multiple application smart card systems. The agreement would further expand the acceptance of the Visa Open Platform into yet another industry sector. Last month, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) agreed to use the Open Platform as a basis for specifications to enable smart cards to be loaded with applications via GSM mobile phones. Philip Yen, senior vice president, Emerging Products at Visa International, said: "We are delighted that support for the Visa Open Platform across different industry sectors continues to grow. There must be a truly open standard for smart card technology that not only benefits the financial sector but the entire smart card industry. GI's commitment to offer the Visa Open Platform to network operators furthers the creation of a common technological base which will enable the banking industry to work with the cable TV industry to offer joint services to their customers." Visa and GI will explore ways to integrate payment and other interactive services into Visa multi-function smart cards, GI's interactive digital set- top terminals and GI's digital network hardware and software. This will maximize the benefits to end-users and generate more revenue for network operators. Visa cardholders will have potential access to a variety of interactive services, such as TV-shopping, pay-per-view using Visa Cash, home banking, loyalty and electronic coupons. Added Mr. Yen: "Being able to use your Visa smart card over the digital TV network creates a world of new opportunities. One example would be to down load special offers or coupons from a TV advertisement onto your Visa smart card. As long as there are common standards, the scope to develop new applications is almost limitless." Denton Kanouff, Vice President of Marketing for General Instrument's Digital Network Systems, said, "GI's digital system delivers real-time interactive digital services for broadband network operators including Video- on-Demand, Internet access and e-mail. This is another example of the flexibility, evolvability and power of GI's platform. Visa is an innovator in offering new consumer payment conveniences and we are sure our collaboration can deliver attractive new services for consumers and operators." As part of a more definitive agreement, Visa and GI plan to undertake a number of joint activities including prototype development and market testing. It is anticipated that GI will provide interactive digital consumer set-top terminals and network systems while Visa will ensure the systems architecture can process payment and other smart card services conveniently and securely. General Instrument Corporation (NYSE: GIC) is a leading worldwide provider of integrated and interactive broadband access solutions, teaming with its business partners to lead the convergence of the Internet, telecommunications and video entertainment industries. Visit GI at web site http://www.gic.com. As the "World's Best Way to Pay", Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 Member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including more than eight million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 620 million Visa-branded cards, which generate over US$1.2 trillion in annual volume. Visa is accepted at more than 15 million worldwide locations, including over 450,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa's Internet address is www.visa.com. Notes To Editors: About the Visa Open Platform Visa's Open Platform is a collection of specifications and technologies that define the foundation for the deployment and growth of the secure, multifunction smart card. With the Visa Open Platform, software developers can create programs that run on a wide variety of chips and operating systems, enabling banks and financial institutions to develop their own smart cards on which they can run numerous programs, providing their customers with a broad array of value-added functions. A strong proponent of open systems, Visa International has made the Visa Open Platform specification freely available to all interested parties. About Visa Cash Visa Cash is an electronic purse or stored value card which serves as a fast and convenient alternative to cash and coins for small purchases. Visa Cash stores monetary value which is electronically deducted from the card each time it is used. The amount of the purchase is then transferred to the merchant's account. In many cases, it is the first step that a bank will take in implementing a multi-function smart card program. With the advent of the Common Electronic Purse Specifications, Visa Cash will become a globally interoperable electronic purse card. The Common Electronic Purse Specifications (CEPS) are being developed by Visa International, Visa Espana/SERMEPA of Spain, ZKA of Germany, and Europay International. The Specifications, due to be published in December of this year, will provide global interoperability for electronic purse cards worldwide. In addition to the four organizations developing CEPS, commitment to adopt the Specifications has also been announced by SSB in Italy, Proton World International, the National Banks in Sweden, and NETS in Singapore. More than 90 percent of the worlds electronic purse cards will become interoperable based on CEPS.
SOURCE General Instrument Corporation