Chip cards are a travellers best friend

Chip cards are a travellers best friend

A consortium of European organisations spanning the travel, mobile telephone, smart card and payment systems industries have teamed up to provide business travellers with a wireless solution for organising and booking travel arrangements via the Web.

The five founder members, Groupement des Cartes Bancaires "CB" (France), SSB (Società per i Servizi Bancari) (Italy), Sita (The Netherlands), Gemplus (France) and Sagem (France), have launched "c-Travel" - a bank-issued chip card which enables secure information exchange and payment between users, banks and travel agents/operators.

Using a secure multi-application chip-card in a dual slot mobile phone, travellers can access and pay for airline, hotel accommodation and car rental services, and obtain airline boarding passes from automated e-ticketing machines located in airpots.

The project is to be carried out for a period of 18 months within the European Commission's Information Society Technologies Framework Programme. The project will rely heavily on existing industry functional and security standards, such as use of a Finread secure card reader and development of a Java chip-card platform, says the consortium.

Groupement des Cartes Bancaires "CB", co-ordinator of the project, and SSB will provide security, certification services and bank chip-card developments.

Sita will offer solutions for online booking, e-ticketing, and self service check-in kiosks, together with its portfolio of security services and its WAP and IP networking solutions.

Gemplus will deliver card-related hardware and software components for the c-Travel integrated architecture. Sagem will provide dual-slot handsets.

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