Europay International spent a great deal of time determining what to do about electronic purse, stored value or ePurse. Initial work began in 1992 just after the merger of EuroCard International and eurocheque International in August of 1992.
Under the then CEO Ron Williams, attempted to convince the Europay Membership and subsequently the MasterCard International Board to purchase Byte from National Westminster Bank. Pete Hart and Dr Van Eldik, Chairman of Europay International, worked together to convince the international membership of both MasterCard and Europay International that what would become called Mondex was the appropriate solution for the banks to invest in to replace Notes and Coins. For a lot of reasons the MasterCard board rejected the idea and Mondex went off on its own.
But then as we all know MasterCard did buy Mondex.
With most European National Debit Organizations (typically a eurocheque card issuer or processor) looking to implementing ePurses based on Proton, the Sermepa solution, Danmont or Quick talked of trans-border i.e. a Euro capable ePurse was top of mind.
Smart Cards where the in thing. The French had proven how effectively it could eliminate Fraud and Europay MasterCard and Visa where developing EMV the integrated Circuit Card Specifications for Debit and Credit Card Payments.
Visa was making great strides with the Visa Cash branded proposition. Europay, MasterCard and Visa were having trouble coming to terms with the idea of a standard for ePurse while Banks around the world where choosing camps and either saying Mondex is the Future or a purse based on what would be formalized as Common Electronic Purse Standard "CEPS" should be the way forward. Cash Replacement or Cash Substitution that was the question
Proton, a Belgium solution, was taking hold in numerous countries including Holland, Switzerland and Belgium. Around the world Proton trials where taking place including Exact here in Canada. Ultimately Proton World was created by ERG, Visa, American Express and the Belgium banks.
So what next? What was Europay to do? As the key payment system in Europe it was essential that direction emerge from Waterloo, Belgium - Headquarters. Yet the politics surrounding a global or a regional approach caused MasterCard International, an 11% shareholder in Europay International, and Europay management to remain in a struggle for strategic supremacy.
In 1994 Gene Lockhart became CEO of MasterCard and things began to change. Pete Hart was a manager that worked to assure concessions, whereas Mr. Lockhart saw Business as Business and had a strategic view of how MasterCard would have to change..
was the integration of Europay
and MasterCard in July 2002?
Uniquely European Payment Brands now retired given the realities of the larger Community
refers to the process by which MasterCard Incorporated acquired Europay
International to form a unified, shareholder-owned, global payments
company, which will deliver significant benefits to customers across the
globe. The integration provides an opportunity to create substantial
benefits for customers in terms of improved economies of scale,
elimination of duplication, and faster decision-making. Many of these
benefits are already being realized.
Mondex International was created with Natwest and Midland Bank as the key players. Various organizations ranging from RBC, CIBC, Credit Mutual, HSBC, AT&T, Wells Fargo all paid 5 to 10 million USD to purchase a Mondex License and Little Mondexes strung up all over the world.
Gene Lockhart an ex-executive of Midland and recent devotee to the Mondex concept eventually caused MasterCard to buy Mondex for a reported $300 Million USD
Europay now in battle with MasterCard for survival decided to launch its own ePurse initiative "Clip" that would in time lead to the creation of the CEPS . CLIP as a product had it all:
Yet it demanded acceptance of a single Acceptance Mark and a high degree of security - PKi - Public Key infrastructure, a technology once the solution to everyone prayers now having its own problem [Another Story].
So where are we know. Europay has folded into MasterCard. Mondex survives but most of the little Mondex companies have been shelved as pilots proved that ePurse without the Chip Card infrastructure was an investment with insufficient returns and not enough consumer and merchant pull to make it a success.
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