Visa is offering Australian member banks substantial discounts to encourage the uptake of smart card technology and to promote what it calls universal commerce, or u-commerce.
Through its Smart Partner 2000 program, Visa International is working with global technology vendors to offer lower cost components and services that can help banks launch new smart card products targeted at specific market needs.
Bruce Mansfield, country manager Australia for Visa International said: "Visa and the payments industry have been working on developing an open standard for smart cards in the financial services sector for some time."
"This announcement is a natural evolution of this work and an indication that open platform, Sun Java and EMV are being embraced as the de-facto standard worldwide. An open, cost effective common smart card platform will allow financial institutions to address current security issues in the physical and virtual worlds. "Discounts are currently offered by 27 companies for limited time periods and for a limited number of banks.
Visa said along with recent announcements by card manufacturers to cut the price of smart cards in half, the new deals will significantly improve the business case for banks that choose to adopt smart cards now.
"The fact that there has been a significant reduction in the price of smart cards is a clear indication that the technology is now maturing and in demand," Mansfield said.
The chip-based payment card which can provide a new level of security, is a key lever in Visa's goal of enabling the growth of 'u-commerce', universal commerce, the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anyplace and over any type of device.