The banks behind the Mondex New Zealand electronic cash franchise have agreed to honour all value - legitimate or not - held on Mondex smartcards they issue to the public.
The decision appears to have been made at a meeting on Monday, in advance of Mondex NZ chairman Jeremy Dean's scheduled interview with Telstra Business reporter Jessica Williams. Williams' story, which screened this morning, concentrated on issues raised throughout this year in Computerworld.
The issues included those of security and consumer protection, both of which were thrown in doubt by Mondex International documents leaked to Computerworld.
Although Australian Mondex banks agreed several weeks ago to honour all value held on cards, Mondex New Zealand has not until now budged from the position outlined by Dean in late October - that the banks "will honour legitimate Mondex value" and "will honour the value issued on cards. That's the current view in our business proposition ..."
This stance effectively left the Mondex cardholder "on risk". A cardholder could have accepted counterfeit value in good faith - with no possible way to determine its legitimacy - and had it dishonoured.
It would be more likely that successful fraud (if possible) would involve the creation of electronic value that even the issuing banks could not distinguish from the real thing.
In the case of fraud which created enough counterfeit value to bring down a national Mondex scheme, it was unclear quite who would be paid if banks agreed only to redeem only the sum they originally floated in the scheme.
Unlike other e-cash vendors, the Mondex issuers cannot know the balance on any card, because the system allows offline value transfers and does not keep a full account record. Dean also revealed this morning that the consortium's attitude to customers who came in with broken or damaged cards, wanting the value held on them redeemed, will be to trust them once, then refuse to pay out again.
Streamed audio and video from this morning's Telstra Business will be loaded by mid-morning on the TVNZ Website, at:
Many background stories and interviews can be found on Computerworld's E-Cash page