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Copyright EMAP Computers, 1995

             Network Week, London, Vol 1 No. 8,  
                      25 October 1995

                         Page 1 Lead

     Electronic cash card system faces possible legal


             By Gavin Clarke and Madeleine Acey

Mondex faces possible legal action after admitting
transactions made with its supposedly anonymous
electronic cash cards can be traced.

Launched in December by Natwest, Midland and BT,
the electronic card was promoted as easy to use and
as anonymous as cash, with no trace being left. It
was perceived that a significant percentage of the
public avoided credit and debit cards because they
preferred their spending habits to remain private.

Simon Davies, Visiting Professor of Law at Essex
University, has lodged a complaint with the Trading
Standards Board demanding that Mondex change
either the retailers card readers or its promotional

It has been revealed that the readers keep records of
up to 500 cards identities. The customers can keep
a record of ten transactions.

The retailer sends the money to the bank through a
9,600 modem-based Mondex phone

Rob Jameson, Mondex project manager for the pilot
in Swindon, said we can certainly trace where cards
have been used.

There are degrees of control that Im not prepared to
discuss.  There are other mechanisms in place but I
dont want to go into that.

Davies said this contradicted previous Mondex
publicity material. It said In everyday use Mondex
transactions are anonymous, just like cash 

A Mondex spokesperson denied last week that the
company said its card offered anonymity. But the
same spokesperson said in February 1994 that the
cards anonymity would appeal to those with a
cash psychology, such as cab drivers and other
cash-in-hand business people.

Mondex entered a new phase last week with the
launch of specially designed public telephones that
will allow its 8,000 Swindon trial customers to
re-load their cards from their bank accounts.

The Data Protection Registrar said people using
Mondex and other smart cards should be made
aware of the uses to which their card information will


Photo of Mondex promotional material and caption :
Mondex card use can be traced, despite claims of