Enough about hype. Mondex U.S.A. president Janet Crane speaks in the more measured tones of market reality. Ms. Crane, who moved to the top job at the domestic Mondex franchise from Wells Fargo Bank, its lead shareholder, said her current focus is experimentation. The seven Mondex U.S.A. owners are in search of smart cards' "commercial proposition."

Her words in a recent telephone interview were more sober than those at a December press conference proclaiming the formation of the U.S. organization. Ms. Crane predicted a national rollout of the stored value technology in 1998.

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