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Pathways Signs Smart Card Deal With LinkOpp Marketing

Beth Cox
InternetNews Reporter

The Pathways Group Inc. said it signed a letter of intent with LinkOpp Marketing Inc., a privately held Internet community, to provide a set of "turn-key" Smart Card solutions for LinkOpp's membership.

These solutions include the adaptation of Pathways' existing Smart Card technology and provision of Smart Cards, terminals and other PC related read/write devices, card fulfillment, transaction processing and related backroom support services.

Under the terms outlined in the letter of intent, Hermosa Beach, CA-based LinkOpp said it anticipates purchasing up to 1.5 million Smart Cards from Pathways, which will be issued to the LinkOpp membership as part of the initial rollout during the first quarter of 1999. LinkOpp offers corporate Web hosting, retailing and membership based goods and services.

These cards will be programmed with Pathways' proprietary multi-purse technology and work in conjunction with a variety of Pathways' merchant terminals. These solutions also include home user and eTeller software, which will be used by LinkOpp along with other offerings to its membership.

The initial rollout is projected to include a large mix of Smart Card and Magnetic-Stripe Card compliant hybrid merchant terminals and several other PC compliant Smart Card read/write devices including PCMCIA technology and keyboards. It is anticipated that Pathways will also be providing credit and debit card adjudication, national online and telephone technical support as well as detailed management, member and merchant tracking and reporting of transactions.

LinkOpp management said it seeks to issue an additional 10 million cards over the next 18 months.

LinkOpp and Pathways said they are "believed to be the first cooperating companies to introduce Smart Card transaction processing, with affinity benefits," which will provide discounts and loyalty awards both in the LinkOpp retail merchant setting as well as to those subscribing merchants who are part of the LinkOpp network of Internet merchants.

Carey Daly, president and CEO of Pathways said: "We are very pleased to be adapting our secure technology to the fast paced marketplace of Internet e- commerce. Our proprietary Smart Card technology and our established electronic transaction processing abilities will guarantee a quick, efficient and successful rollout of this venture."