The electronic purse smart card has been widely distributed in several European countries, but little used. Now two of the larger e-purse providers are adding features in hopes of appealing to more consumers.
Euro KartensystemeEuro Kartensysteme, the organization of German banks responsible for the Geldkarte, has introduced a contactless feature. This was in response to requests from transport operators who would like commuters to be able to pay with load electronic tickets onto the Geldkarte chip that resides on more than 60 million German banking cards. However, the contactless feature will only be used for tickets, access and loyalty, and not for payment, because of security concerns, Volker Koppe, Geldkarte’s marketing director, tells Card Technology.
The new cards use a dual-interface smart card chip that can be read by both contact and contactless readers, and Koppe predicts such cards will be issued within the next year. Koppe says there were only 38 million Geldkarte transactions in Germany last year, and that the stored value program is now promoted mainly for use in such unattended locations as vending machines and parking garages.
ProtonMeanwhile, in Belgium, the Proton e-purse will soon get an automatic reload feature, says Leo Van Hove, an assistant professor of economics at the Free University of Brussels and expert on payment methods. He says that function, which allows consumers to choose to automatically adds value to cards when they run low, will be announced soon by Banksys, the Belgian bank card processor that supports Proton. However, Van Hove says Proton will only succeed if banks promote it, and banks have little financial incentive to do so.