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MasterCard’s Market-Leading Chip Solutions Ready for Implementation in Canada - MasterCard Brings a World of Chip Experience to Canada

Toronto, February 25, 2005 - MasterCard International today confirmed that its market-leading chip solutions are ready for implementation in Canada. MasterCard has the necessary card applications, infrastructure, certification services, e-commerce solutions and support programs to help Canadian card issuers and merchants make a smooth transition to chip-based payment platforms.

As part of its leadership in the smart cards sector, MasterCard created OneSMART MasterCard®, a global program to provide financial institutions with technological and marketing support to launch smart cards. As part of the program, MasterCard offers pre-configured smart card packages that enable customers to get to market faster.

"MasterCard’s chip capability and smart card platforms, including the OneSMART MasterCard program, have been in place for some time and are ready for immediate implementation in Canada," said Kevin Stanton, President, MasterCard Canada.

"As a customer-driven organization, we do not mandate terms, conditions and timelines for chip migration to our customers," said Stanton. "Instead, we work with our customer financial institutions and merchants to enact customized plans for chip migration according to their business needs and to the unique context of their individual markets. And for financial institutions and merchants that need highly customized, proprietary solutions, we have MasterCard Advisors at the ready. MasterCard is thoroughly prepared to process a chip transaction in Canada today. In other words, we’re ready now for when our Canadian customers are ready to go to chip."

MasterCard continues to view chip as a "fit for purpose" technology that works best in situations where there are mutual benefits for card issuers, acquirers, merchants and cardholders. As a result, MasterCard has not issued a global mandate to achieve market migration to chip by a set date. Instead, MasterCard’s regional operations work with their local customers on chip migration according to when and where it makes sense for their local requirements. For instance, MasterCard Canada has long been an active participant in the Canadian Chip Migration Project, which helps ensure shared specifications and ease of interoperability of across the nation’s various chip programs.

MasterCard has the ability to bring a world of chip experience to bear in the Canadian market through its Chip Centre of Excellence, which is based in Brussels, Belgium. There are currently more than 233 million MasterCard-, Maestro-, and Mondex®-branded smart cards issued worldwide, with more than 75% of them carrying value-added applications like loyalty, digital ID, e-ticketing, e-coupons or personal data storage. About 50% of these 233 million smart cards now carry an EMV chip, demonstrating the increasing momentum for EMV compliance. During 2004, MasterCard worked with its customers on approximately 950 individual chip projects around the world.

MasterCard’s hands-on approach is designed to help customers and vendor partners through the decision, preparation, solutions development, implementation and roll-out phases of their card programs, providing comprehensive support and technical expertise at every step along the way. MasterCard’s approach differs from others in the industry who provide only a pre-packaged set of smart card applications and technology, thus limiting issuers’ ability to customize and differentiate their programs and services.

"The transition to chip is not a small matter," said Stanton. "It requires deliberate business planning, cost allocations, and transition management. MasterCard is best-positioned to help an organization first determine whether chip is right for their business and then to help guide them through all stages of the migration process."

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 97 countries and in 47 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com