The Mondex Card was invented at National Westminster Bank (NatWest) in 1990 by Tim Jones and Graham Higgins. In December 1993, (NatWest) launched Mondex, then called a "smartcard" as a form of electronic cash based the technology they developed. The next series of Mondex cards were issued in a joint development pilot with Midland Bank (part of HSBC) also in the UK and British Telecom (BT) in Swindon (a town of around 300,000 people, approximately 70 miles west of London.) . More on the Swindon trials to come.
These cards, brochures, card reader shown in the slide show below are from the Swindon pilot program. Note the old style logo on the card above. When you see this old style logo on a Mondex card the card was issued is prior to MasterCard International purchasing Mondex International. The logo was revised after this to be consistent with the MasterCard family of card products.
This was in February 1997, when Mondex became is a subsidiary of MasterCard when MasterCard acquired 51% of Mondex and "decided to adopt Mondex's technology as its future choice of strategic chip platform and to abandon its work on MasterCard Cash". The Mondex business model was to grants licenses to franchisees to allow them to exploit the Mondex electronic cash technology in a given territory. From Mondex's incorporation in 1996 to June 1998, it had issued 30 licenses across 6 continents. and had franchisees in over 50 countries.
In June, 1998 (the date of a MasterCard/Mondex press release) Mondex states that the Mondex card system was "the only electronic cash system in the world to operate with a single global technology allowing for cross-border payments. It allows up to five different currencies to be carried on the card at any one time in separate electronic pockets". The press release also stated that Mondex in 1998 was being used in 23 implementations (tests or pilots) around the world including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Philippines, UK and USA. We have yet to find samples from these 23 pilots, but we continue to search.
More to come soon on the history of Mondex card.