HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corp. and Hang Seng Bank Ltd. have launched a Mondex smart card program in two shopping centers.
Nearly 400 merchants at Citiplaza in Taikoo Shing and the New Town Plaza in Shatin have signed up to accept the electronic cash cards. The banks are soliciting customers who live near the shopping centers to apply for the cards.
The program will expand across the territory in 1997. The Hong Kong test is the first public offering of Mondex outside England, where a pilot in Swindon began in the summer of 1995. Wells Fargo Bank, a shareholder in Mondex International, is conducting a pilot at its San Francisco headquarters. A Mondex pilot is set for Guelph, Ontario early next year.
The Mondex system of reloadable cards, smart phones, and electronic wallets allows consumers to reload value through automated teller machines and special screen phones and to transfer money from card to card.
The smart card system was developed by National Westminster Bank of London. The bank spun off the smart card unit in July, creating Mondex International, a joint venture with 17 bank partners. MasterCard International is said to be purchasing the operating system and brand name.
The Mondex rollout will run concurrently with Visa International's Visa Cash smart card test, launched in Hong Kong in August.