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World Online has teamed up with a Swedish outfit to offer what it calls "Europe's first" pre-paid Internet card.

The system - called Jalda - enables punters to buy goods and services online.

According to Per Brantberg of EHPT - the independent software company created by Ericsson and Hewlett-Packard that developed the service - the beauty of Jalda is that is it is platform neutral.

It can accessed and used via a PC, phone or iTV and is a doddle to use. Apparently.

Jalda is already being used by Wish, an ISP in Holland, and is soon to be introduced by Telia in Sweden, which takes the edge off World Online's claims that it is "Europe's first" pre-paid service. The full launch of the service in Britain will take place later in the autumn.

According to Simon Preston, CEO on World Online, the service is particularly suited to teenagers, who could receive a voucher, instead of a boring old book token from their doddery old aunt, say, to top-up their online spending account.

Whether it succeeds or not depends on whether enough etailers agree to accept the new payment method, and whether enough punters decide to use it.

The word Jalda, by the way, means "pay" on the Faroe Islands. And as we all know, the Faroe Islands is famous for a mediocre soccer team and the slaughter of whales. ®

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