Partnership shows cards
and chips are not just
found in Las Vegas

Hawaii has been chosen as the test market for a chip-embedded smart credit card by JCB International and First Hawaiian Bank is the local player.

First Hawaiian, which has a long-time business relationship with JCB, is licensed by the company for acceptance services. If a business wants to accept JCB credit cards, it must sign up through First Hawaiian.

Outside of Japan this is probably one of the more important markets to JCB, "primarily because of the number of JCB cardholders who come to Hawaii," said Gary Fujitani, senior vice president in First Hawaiian's Business Services Division.

JCB has issued 3 million smart cards so far.

The chip in a smart card is "like a microprocessor, which stores information relative to the card" for transaction authorizations, he said.

The chips can also store other information, such as tracking data for loyalty programs or a customer's medical history.

While several potential applications exist, the main reason for testing the technology right now is security.

Magnetic strip technology has worked well for the industry, but the chip presents better fraud deterrence, Fujitani said. "The chip is the next level."

Chip cards are costlier to produce than magnetic-strip cards, he said, but with multiple possible applications they appear to be where technology is heading.

First Hawaiian will be able to share the proprietary information gathered in the JCB pilot project.

"I think we're always interested in technology and we'll be looking at it to help us make a determination to see whether we should get actively involved in doing this ourselves," Fujitani said.


Sighs of relief with a French accent were breathed earlier this week when it was announced that La Mer had once again made the American Automobile Association list of "Five Diamond" restaurants. Its inclusion for the year 2003 makes 13 consecutive years for the nearly exclusive bragging rights.

In November 2000, Seasons restaurant in the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea became the second Hawaii restaurant to achieve the five-diamond distinction. However, the hotel closed the restaurant in October 2001 after 18 months of negotiations to bring in Spago, the famous restaurant concept of chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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