| The main providers of elecronic
Mondex International Limited (MXI) is a world leader in the provision of a global, multi-channel, electronic payment system for the real and virtual worlds. Headquartered in London, the company is a subsidiary of MasterCard International, and is best known for pioneering the Mondex Electronic Cash system, one of the world's leading smart card-based electronic purses. Its unique security architecture allows for person-to-person payments using a personal wallet device or telephone line, without the need for authorisation. This is one of the features which makes Mondex the most advanced and cash-like of all available electronic cash products.
MXI has a presence in over 80 countries around the world. In all of these countries, Mondex electronic cash and MULTOS, the high-security multi-application operating system, are being implemented and developed using the same technology, ensuring global interoperability for the financial services industry as well as businesses and consumers.
Mondex electronic cash is a cost-effective, secure, and immediate payment tool, which can be used across any remote channel (particularly, where credit and debit cards are not adequately servicing the market) and is ideally positioned to benefit from the growth of mobile phone enabled commerce (m-commerce) and interactive/digital TV opportunities. It is an enabling technology, allowing merchants to target markets not adequately serviced by existing payment methods, such as micropayments. Mondex's unique bi-directional payment capability, allowing all users to send and receive value, provides the flexibility to support all transaction types (business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer payments, refunds, auctioning, etc.).
In September 1999, Mondex and the MULTOS operating system became the first commercial products ever to be awarded ITSEC Level E6 (Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria), the highest ITSEC security rating level available. Further information regarding MXI, Mondex electronic cash and other MXI products is available at: www.mondex.com or www.mondexinternational.com.
Run by Visa International, Visa Cash has three different types of card: disposable, stand-alone reloadable and feature reloadable. The latter is where the Visa Cash application is added onto an existing debit, credit or ATM card.
In the UK, Visa Cash is working with Barclaycard, Abbey National, Royal Bank of Scotland, HaliFax, Lloyds/TSB and Co-op Bank. A pilot scheme in Leeds has 55,000 cardholders and the card is accepted at 1,400 terminals in and around Leeds. At these terminals money is loaded onto the card using special terminals, sometimes referred to as cashless ATMs, to transfer money from the customer's bank account.
Internationally, Visa Cash has issued over 8 million cards in 16 countries (of which 40% are reloadable) which can be used in over 170,000 terminals. Up to the end of March 1998, about 6.9 million transactions have been conducted with an average transaction amount of £3.07.
Proton is an electronic purse distributed by Banksys which includes most of the banks in Belgium. The technology is also used in the Netherlands where it is called Chip-Knip. Chip-Knip is currently only an electronic purse but it is planned to incorporate other applications so that the card becomes multifunctional. In Belgium there are 23,000 terminals installed with 4 million cards in circulation; outside Belgium, there are over 100,000 terminals installed and 26 million cards ordered. Proton is also in use in Switzerland, and is being piloted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Sweden and Philippines. American Express have taken out a licence and in late 1997 started multiple pilots.
Danmont originated in Denmark with Visa International acquiring a license regarding the specifications. Main usage is in Denmark where cards are distributed in local post offices, newsstands, service stations, stores, schools and train stations.
Europay International created Clip in 1996 as its first step in developing an electronic purse product for the European market. This is claimed to be the first multi-currency EMV-compliant purse. Clip is currently being piloted in the Czech Republic as a domestic-only product.
Today there are some twenty different domestic purse products currently live in Europe, none of which can be used internationally. Europay's strategy has been to promote mutual acceptance amongst these different schemes through the creation of minimum standards and bi-/multi-lateral agreements. Emphasis is being placed on the need to address key traffic areas such as tourist locations and borders.