An Orange County, Calif. -based Web site developer plans to distribute 100,000 free smart cards and readers to its customers to boost security for online shopping, banking, e-mail and other services. Netcity.com Inc., founded last fall, plans to roll out the cards and readers during the first quarter of 2000, says Bill Holmes, vice president of sales and marketing for Irvine, Calif.-based Litronic Inc., which is designing the software for the cards and readers. The cards will store digital certificates or identification that will authenticate NetCity customers to the Internet. NetCity can give away the cards and readers because it will bring in business for Internet merchants, who will pay for the leads, says Holmes. NetCity intends to add applications that can be used in both the physical and virtual worlds, such as loyalty programs. Based on card numbers, it is the largest announced project to date using Microsoft Corp.'s Windows for Smart Cards operating system.
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