Visa readies wireless smart cards

Visa International is making a push with a new smart-card payment system that would allow hands-free transactions.

The credit card company said Thursday that it plans to set up a new system that uses smart cards fitted with radio-frequency chips (sometimes called RF identification, or RFID, tags) that will allow people to conduct a transaction, such as paying a subway fare or buying a soda, without having to fish for change or swipe a credit card.

Visa, which will install the first such system in South Korea, says wireless smart cards have the potential to make life easier for a range of users, such as commuters, who could use a card to pay their fare at subway turnstile instead of standing in line to buy a token. People would hold the card--or phone or other device containing a card--within about 10 centimeters of a terminal, which would use wireless transmissions to send payment information

The new smart cards will use wireless chips that conform to an international wireless standard known as ISO 14443. Companies can work with Visa to add similar capabilities to their handheld devices, such as cell phones, Visa said.

The credit card company says it will use wireless smart cards as part of a larger effort to allow its customers to carry out transactions more easily and more securely.

News source: C|net

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