Financial Information Service Co. Ltd (FISC), Taiwan’s national operator for interbank information network services including ATM, debit and credit cards, Monday announced its intention to migrate its proprietary chip cards to the Open Platform specifications.
The FISC/Open Platform migration program is expected to commence in the last quarter of 1999. An estimated one million FISC cards will be based on Visa’s Open Platform upon completion of the program in the year 2001.
The plan by FISC is being seen as a necessary move to keep pace with the explosive growth of the Taiwan payments industry, and is widely expected to accelerate Taiwan’s plan to migrate from magnetic stripe cards to smart cards. By using the Open Platform, FISC’s members will be able to choose from a wide range of chip operating systems, card and terminal manufacturers, and application developers in order to offer to their cardholders a wide range of services, all residing on a single card.
The new FISC/Open Platform cards will initially offer debit, electronic purse and ATM services. Discussions are underway with FISC members to explore the possibility of adding other applications, such as credit and loyalty programs, to optimize the capability of the new multifunction smart cards.
Ms. Lin Chen Chen, President of FISC, said: “As part of our plan to migrate our existing FISC chip cards to an industry standard, we conducted feasibility studies on several options available in the market today. We are convinced that the Open Platform approach adopted by Visa is the best multifunction smart card technology available today because its open, non-proprietary chip platform offers our members a choice of global standards, flexibility and convenience. FISC is definitely committed to using Open Platform technology in the Taiwanese market.”
The Open Platform was first introduced by Visa International in June 1998 with the launch of the Standard Chartered Open Platform Visa card in Singapore. It represents a collection of specifications and technologies that enable Members to securely deploy multifunction smart cards. With the Open Platform, card issuers are able to easily and cost-effectively develop a broad array of competitive value-added functions, using smart card technology.
Philip Yen, senior vice president, Emerging Technology at Visa International, said: “Over the past 10 months, the Open Platform approach has been endorsed by multiple industries, including financial institutions, telecommunication standard institutes and the set top box industry. Today’s announcement by FISC highlights the growing worldwide support for this non proprietary approach and demonstrates the demand for a chip platform which offers the best combination of services at the lowest cost and which provides maximum choice while protecting investments.”
Ms. Lin added: “For the stored value program on the new FISC/Open Platform smart card, we are also pleased to announce that FISC is currently conducting feasibility studies on the adoption of the Common Electronic Purse Specifications (CEPS), another global standard currently being promoted by Visa and several leading electronic purse operators worldwide.”
CEPS has been jointly developed by Europay International, SERMEPA in Spain, Visa International, and ZKA (Zentraller Kreditausschuss, Germany). Available since March 1999, CEPS are open and non proprietary specifications that will ensure global interoperability for electronic purse cards worldwide. To date, more than 90 percent of the global electronic purse operators have agreed to adopt CEPS.Details