Desjardins Smart Card to be Launched in St-Jérôme

    MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Starting in the spring of 2008, members
of Desjardins caisses in the city of Saint-Jérôme, north of Montréal, will be
the first to be able to carry out debit and credit transactions using the
Desjardins smart card.
    This was announced today by Desjardins Group President and CEO, Mr. Alban
D'Amours, at the cooperative institution's Annual General Meetings, being held
in Montréal.
    "We are especially proud today to announce the launch of the Desjardins
smart card. A major step has been completed now that we have chosen the city
that will serve as the launching pad for this innovative technology for
electronic payments and banking transactions," declared Mr. D'Amours.
    Desjardins teams are currently working on modifying ATMs and payment
terminals in various businesses in Saint-Jérôme. Gradually, over the next few
years, all of Desjardins' equipment will be adapted for use with this new
    Smart cards, also known as chip cards, contain a computer chip offering
greater security and better protection against counterfeiting and fraud in
case the card is lost or stolen. Credit transactions made with smart cards
will be validated by a PIN (Personal Identification Number) rather than a
signature, which also improves security while speeding up in-store
    Because smart cards will be introduced gradually, depending on the
implementation schedule of the various Canadian financial institutions, the
new cards will also be equipped with a magnetic stripe, allowing them to be
used elsewhere in the world, where smart card technology is not yet available.
    For several years, Desjardins has been an active participant on a
national committee created to define common ways to introduce smart cards to
the Canadian market.
    In 2006 alone, 430 million transactions were carried out at Desjardins
point-of-sale terminals and 300 million transactions at Desjardins ATMs in

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest integrated cooperative financial group in
Canada, with overall assets of more than $135 billion, as at December 31,
2006. It comprises a network of caisses, credit unions and business centres in
Québec and Ontario, and some twenty subsidiary companies in life and general
insurance, securities brokerage, venture capital and asset management, many of
which are active across the country. Drawing on the expertise of its
40,000 employees and the commitment of 7,020 elected officers, Desjardins
offers its 5.8 million individual and corporate members and clients a full
range of financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
complemented by leading-edge virtual access methods. To find out more, consult

For further information:

For further information: Source (for journalists only): Nathalie Genest,
Advisor, Information and Media Relations Department, (514) 281-7275,
1-866-866-7000, ext. 7275; March 31: Press room at the Palais des congrès de
Montréal, (514) 789-3488

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