Julian Matthews, Kuala Lumpur
Banks to Launch
E-Purse Pilot in January 1999
Six local banks will launch a commercial pilot for an electronic purse system in January, the first of its kind in the country.
The system uses reloadable chip-based cards which are the forerunners to the national multipurpose card the government plans to rollout as part of its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project.
Based on Proton Card
The technology for the system is based on Proton e-purse technology, developed by Banksys SA (www.banksys.be) of Belgium, and is one of the most broadly used in the world with 30 million cards in circulation accepted in 15 countries.
"The advantage of the e-purse card is that it replaces conventional cash, especially for small value transactions, which a credit card cannot do," said Danny Vanhoutte, general manager of Triumphant Launch Sdn Bhd, the local representative company for Proton technology.
He said the system also allowed merchants the convenience of uploading their payment collections via the telephone through a secure transaction system.
Vanhoutte said the banks will issue about 300,000 reloadable cards with ceiling value of 500 ringgit each.
The cards can be reloaded at automated teller machines (ATM), service counters, stand-alone public kiosks, and also through mobile handphones.
Vanhoutte said a technical test for the e-purse cards introduced during the recent 16th Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur in September was a success.
Last year, Triumphant Launch, together with local partners, successfully bid to use Proton technology for the electronic cash function of the proposed national multipurpose cards.
In February, the company was also chosen to do the National Payment and Clearing System for the multipurpose cards by the Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS), a consortium of local financial institutions.
The government has taken a two-card approach for its plan to issue a multipurpose card to every citizen.
The payment card will be for debit, credit and automated teller machine (ATM) transactions, while a government card will be used for identification, as well as a driving license, health card and immigration card. Both cards will use Proton technology for its e-cash functions. The objective is to eventually migrate all individual applications onto a single card.
Vanhoutte said the company and its local partners are also bidding to manage and operate the other applications on the payment card.
A commercial pilot of the payment card is scheduled for July next year with the national roll-out set for January 2000.
Triumphant Launch is jointly owned by Proton World International SA (PWI) (50%) (www.protonworld.com), Australian smartcard developer ERG Card Systems Ltd (45%) (www.erg.com.au) and US-based Motorola Inc (5%) (www.mot.com).