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Members of the Payment Industry Announce Chip Technology Trial

Toronto, November 29, 2006 /CNW/ – Members of the payment card industry – Interac Association, MasterCard Canada Inc., Visa Canada Association, and many of their respective card issuers and processors – today announced their commitment to conduct a chip technology trial in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.

The trial will allow participants to test the infrastructure and ensure interoperability of systems and devices in a controlled manner prior to each participant's national roll-out plan.

The first chip transactions will occur in the autumn of 2007, with card issuance and device deployment increasing over the months following, reaching a sufficient volume for research by March 2008.

The migration to chip card technology represents a significant change in the Canadian payments landscape and this multi-participant trial is an important step in ensuring a smooth transition for all participants in the electronic payments system.

A chip card is a credit or debit card that contains an embedded computer chip and provides increased protection against counterfeit and lost and stolen card fraud. In addition to providing increased security, the chip card also offers a platform for future opportunities, new product and service offerings.

The migration to chip card technology represents an evolution of the electronic payments systems designed to make an already safe payments system even more secure. The Canadian payments system will be utilizing the established "EMV" chip standard (Europay MasterCard VISA), which is a proven technology currently in wide use around the world.

About Interac Association
Formed in 1984, Interac Association is a not-for-profit organization composed of members representing banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, technology and payment related companies. Interac Association is responsible for the development of the national network for two shared electronic financial services: INTERAC Direct Payment, Canada's national debit card service and INTERAC Shared Cash Dispensing Service for cash withdrawals at Automated Banking Machines. For more information, visit www.interac.org.

About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 14 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard Worldwide serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercardworldwide.com.

About Visa Canada
Visa connects cardholders, merchants and financial institutions through the world's largest electronic payments network. Visa products allow buyers and sellers to conduct commerce with ease and confidence in both the physical and virtual worlds. Visa is committed to the sustained growth of electronic payment systems to support the needs of all stakeholders and to drive economic growth. Visa products currently generate more than $4 trillion in sales volume worldwide. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance at more than 24 million locations worldwide including one million ATMs. Within Canada, financial institutions have issued more than 27 million Visa cards, accounting for $155 billion in sales volume. For more information, visit www.visa.ca.

For further information:
Tina Romano, Interac Association, (416)869-5062, tromano@interac.org
Jennifer Reed, MasterCard Canada Inc., (416)365-6664, jennifer_reed@mastercard.com
Tania Freedman, Visa Canada Association, (416) 860-3871, tfreedma@visa.com