Gemplus S.A. today agreed to manufacture smart cards for Mondex International Ltd., as the two companies said they would work together to develop the electronic cash market.
One of the largest smart-card manufacturers in the world, Gemplus has the capacity to produce 750 million units a year, according to company officials. It could need all that capacity, since the London-based Mondex was recently acquired by MasterCard International Inc., which intends to use the Mondex standard for all future smart-card products.
Mondex has also certified Gemplus' GCR400 card reader. The deal is not exclusive.
"Mondex is one of the handful of stored-value or smart-card systems that is left standing as the field gets narrowed," said David Weisman, director of money and technology strategies at Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Mass. "Mondex seems to have a better understanding of the smart card's role on the Internet than other vendors. When you talk to financial institutions, they equate them with stored-value cards. But that's just one application; it's not the only thing a card can do."
Mondex has already begun several public trials, including one in Swindon, England, in cooperation with British Telecommunications Plc.
More trials will take place in 1997 in the United States and in Canada, said Richard Wojciechowski, financial transaction business division director for North America at Gemplus.
Wojciechowski said Gemplus will also advertise Mondex to its customers.