SWINDON, England - Mondex U.K., the smart card venture of National Westminster Bank and Midland Bank, announced the completion July 3 of its first electronic purse transaction.

With the transaction - a newspaper purchase from vendor Don Stanley for the equivalent of 45 cents - Mondex met its schedule for launching the trial this summer in the southwest England city of Swindon, population 190,000.

Developed by Natwest and installed with cooperation from British Telecom and other technology providers, the system is billed as "electronic cash."

Saying applications have been coming even from noncustomers of Natwest and Midland, the banks expect to issue 40,000 cards in the next several months.

About 1,000 retailing organizations are expected to participate in the two-year trial. More than 6,900 outlets were on the system on its first day.

Royal Bank of Scotland will participate in the United Kingdom venture. Natwest also has licensed Mondex to Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. in Asia and to Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

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