VISA AND THREE BANKS LAUNCH "SMART CARD" AT SUMMER GAMES
Visa will work with three Southeast banks for the "most
ambitious launch" yet of a "smart card" in time for the '96
Games. A smart card looks like a credit card, but is an
"electronic purse that holds electronic cash." When the purse is
empty, the card cannot be used. Working with Visa will be
NationsBank, First Union and Wachovia. They hope to sign up
"thousands of merchants" where the card can be used all over
Atlanta; all Olympic venues will be wired for the cards. First
Union will have about 5,000 merchant locations in operation in
Atlanta by '96, and then introduce the card to other cities in
'97. Visa said the Games "are the perfect locale to trot out"
the card, because of the large international audience. Smart
cards are already popular in Europe (Martha Brannigan, WALL
STREET JOURNAL, 3/21).