National Australia Bank will begin its Mondex program by issuing cards to 2,500 employees at its head office in Melbourne, Mondex International announced.

The in-house distribution will precede a public rollout later this year that is being backed by most of the major banks in Australia.

National Australia Bank has been an especially strong supporter of Mondex as a charter owner and a participant in programs in Ireland, Vietnam, and the United States. It is the parent of Michigan National Corp., one of the Mondex USA co-owners.

The bank is planning multiple applications for employee smart cards. In addition to electronic cash purchases at the cafeteria, staff shop, and vending machines, the cards will replace existing building access cards. They will incorporate digital photos and magnetic stripes in addition to chips.

Applications on Mondex cards could ultimately include credit and debit functions, loyalty programs, ticketing, and access control, said Rod Carr, National Australia's general manager, Asia-Pacific payments.

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