Visa Cash is a smart card electronic cash system owned by Visa.
Trialled in various locations worldwide (including Leeds, UK in 1997), the system works via a ‘chip’ embedded in a bank card, and looks similar to the so-called ‘Chip and PIN’ cards issued, among other countries, in Europe. Another early trial was performed in conjunction with the World Ski Championship in Trondheim, Norway in late February 1997. Two different cards were issued, with a loaded face value of 200 and 400 NOK. The cards expired Aug 97.
The card is ‘loaded’ with cash via specialized ATMs, and the cash can later be ‘spent’ by inserting the card into the retailer’s card-reader and pressing a button to confirm the amount. Neither PIN entry nor a signature is required, which makes for a speedy transaction for the card’s owner.
Other competing cashless payment systems for micro-payments (small amounts) include Mondex.
A more successful smart card electronic cash system is the Octopus card system in Hong Kong.