Consumer Payment Card News

Smart Catholic Cards

While Americans are just beginning to learn about smart cards the Vatican announced this week they will use smart cards to handle the larger crowds expected next year. Smart card manufacturer Gemplus says organizers of the Catholic Jubilee of the Year 2000 will use Gemplus smart cards to handle the pilgrims making the trek to the holy cities. An estimated 12 to 20 million pilgrims will be in Rome for the ‘Jubilee’ year making orderly direction and management of the crowds a necessity. Local dioceses and travel agents will issue smart cards to pilgrims to allow access to areas in Italian cities such as Vatican City, Gubbio and Assisi. The committee has already taken delivery of one million new ‘Pilgrim’ cards from Gemplus. The organizers are implementing this solution in partnership with Setefi, a computer services subsidiary of the Cariplo Bank in Italy. Cariplo is responsible for the personalization of the cards and the installation of the network of card readers. The ‘Jubilee’ is an official international holy year that takes place every 25 years, originally decreed by Pope Boniface VIII in the 14th century. Gemplus says other cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are also looking closely at smart card solutions to help them manage the flow of pilgrims. Visit Gemplus on the web at

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