24 September 1997
Source: Business Wire

See related message on Mondex security: http://jya.com/mondex-hack.htm

Mondex Unveils Roll-Out Technology Featuring Enhanced High Security Chip, Multi-Currency and Global Inter-Operability

LONDON -- Mondex International Limited, the company behind Mondex -- the world's leading chip-based payment system -- has today unveiled a new high security chip which will be used by Mondex chip card issuers as they move to wider consumer roll-out.

Consumer roll-outs, expected in a number of countries, will see more than 500,000 incremental Mondex cards being issued before the end of this year.

By the end of 1997, Mondex International will have produced in excess of 1 million reloadable Mondex cards; this figure is expected to rise to 5 million reloadable cards by the end of 1998.

The Mondex H8/3109 roll-out chip is the world's first smartcard based, multi-currency payments product to utilize public key cryptography.

Global Interoperability

Mondex is the only electronic cash system in the world to operate with a single global technology allowing for cross-country payments. Remote chip-to-chip transactions can occur between individual cards over the Internet, over public telephone networks and mobile phones (see notes to editors) on a global basis. Unlike rival electronic cash schemes, Mondex ensures that there is interoperability between cards and devices from one country to another provided by consistent technology in each Mondex implementation.


Mondex is also the only electronic cash system which allows up to five different currencies to be carried on the card at any one time in separate "electronic pockets." This means that card holders can carry foreign currency on their cards which can be activated when on holiday or travelling for business. Rather than having to visit a bureau de change, Mondex allows consumers to load currency via the telephone directly onto their cards.

Mondex also provides cardholders with access to their money via public switched telephone lines, the Internet, ATMs, at the Point of Sale and going forward via mobile telephony and wireless communication.

Enhanced Security

The new H8/3109 customized smartcard chip has been developed by Hitachi specifically for use by Mondex and is intended to be upward compatible with future generations of cards -- a feature which is unique to Mondex.

Mondex has moved to the H8/3109 chip's public key encryption to provide the appropriate level of security for upcoming large-scale roll-outs, in contrast to several smaller-scale pilots to date. The Mondex roll-out phase entails a greater volume of cards, national and global interoperability, and use both in the physical world and over the Internet.

Commenting on the move, John Beric, Head of Security at Mondex International, said: "Any stored value system that provides for off-line transactions at the point of sale must ensure that the physical and logical security of the system is worldclass. With the H8/3109 chip we have laid the foundations for a security system for Mondex which is ahead of criminals today and which can stay ahead of them tomorrow."

Ian Hay, recently appointed Manager of Hitachi's Smart Card Micro Computer Centre, said, "We are pleased to have been asked by Mondex International to develop this special version of our H8 Series smart card device incorporating high security design features. This will enable the globalization of the Mondex scheme utilizing technology at the forefront of the semiconductor industry."

David Maher, Head of the Secure Systems Research Department at AT&T Labs, and himself an architect of numerous secure processors for both commercial and military applications, said, "Mondex International has led the market by building a superb security platform that is founded on the strongest security standards, a platform that has stood up to intense scrutiny for more than six years. The numerous invitations from Mondex to labs like ours to examine security methods and development processes, and to test and attack the product itself has increased our confidence. I am convinced that Mondex delivers physical, logical, and systemic security that forms the basis for a variety of secure smart card applications and sets the standard for the rest of the industry."

The H8/3109 chip has been under development for two years and has undergone a rigorous market testing and analysis program including fault analysis interrogation by some of the leading chip and security laboratories in the world to demonstrate that it is fit for purpose.

Michael Keegan, Chief Executive Officer at Mondex International said, " The H8/3109 chip will ensure that Mondex remains the world leading electronic cash payments system offering a high-security platform which can compete on performance and cost with any other system in the world.

"As the Mondex marketplace reaches maturity, we are able to provide the twin benefits of increased processing power and cost-competitive silicon. The H8/3109 chip from Hitachi is the first in a series of enhanced multi-supplier silicon technologies from Mondex which will drive global acceptance ."

Henry Mundt, Executive Vice President of MasterCard International, who heads up MasterCard's Chip Business, commented: "One of our primary objectives in acquiring a controlling interest in Mondex International was access to a single global interoperable electronic cash product. In this way our members are able to offer a multi-currency product today knowing, at the outset, that they are implementing a forward compatible solution.

"A multi-lateral, multi-currency product like Mondex demands a very high level of security and the new H8/3109 is uniquely capable of meeting this requirement."

Geoff Bruce, Head of Group Cards, HSBC Holdings plc, said: "The Mondex roll-out chip technology is market-ready and world class. As we move towards the wider roll-out of Mondex in Hong Kong, we will be utilizing the H8/3109 chip to deliver the unique benefits of Mondex to an ever-growing number of consumers."

Ron Braco, Senior Vice President of Electronic Commerce, Chase Manhattan Bank, said, "We will be using the 3109 chip in the forthcoming introduction of Mondex in New York. The New York introduction of Mondex is on schedule for October implementation. We believe the 3109 offers the most secure platform for smartcard based applications available today."

Ron Clark, Chief Executive of Mondex UK, said, "As we move towards the wider roll-out of Mondex in the UK our members will be utilizing the H8/3109 roll-out chip technology to ensure that we offer the highest level of security and performance to our members."

Marian Browne, Senior Vice President -- Smart Cards and Electronic Payments at AT&T Universal Card Services, said: "The new chip demonstrates to consumers and merchants that Mondex smart cards will continue to offer the highest level of security. We're pleased to incorporate the H8/3109 chip as we expand our Mondex trial to the Internet."

Public key cryptography is a market enabling technology which allows for secure, independent financial transactions at long distances in non-secure environments. In addition, it is ideally suited to off-line, point-of-sale electronic cash products like Mondex and provides a much greater degree of security than private-key cryptography, the security system used by smartcards currently.

The H8/3109 chip architecture is upward compatible with next generation Mondex cards including those using the MULTOS operating system.

Note to Editors:

Hitachi H8/3109 smartcard chip

As well as featuring an on-board crypto co-processor, the H8/3109 chip offers 8Kbytes of EEPROM and 14Kbytes of ROM allowing for high speed numerical calculations and the longer key lengths which are required for public key algorithms, such as RSA, DSA, Zero Knowledge and others.

Mobile Telephony

Mondex International and Cellnet (the UK mobile phone network) today announced an agreement to jointly develop solutions to allow electronic cash to be transferred via digital mobile phones over a GSM network. In addition to this, Cellnet and Mondex will be making these solutions available to any network provider using the GSM standard.

Mondex International Ltd

Mondex is the most "cash-like" of the electronic cash smartcards which are beginning to be introduced around the world as a more efficient alternative to physical cash; for use in everyday shopping and as a future payment mechanism in a wide variety of areas such as the Internet and " pay-per-view" TV.

Mondex International Limited was established as an independent payments company in July 1996. MasterCard International acquired 51% of the company in February 1997 and has decided to adopt Mondex International's technology as its future choice of strategic chip platform.

The following companies are also shareholders (directly or indirectly) in Mondex International: National Westminster Bank, Ulster Bank, Midland Bank, Scotiabank, Credit Union Central of Canada, The National Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal, Canada Trust, Le Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Wells Fargo, AT& T, Chase Manhattan, First Chicago NBD, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia), ANZ Banking Group (New Zealand), Bank of New Zealand, Countrywide Banking Corporation, The National Bank of New Zealand, ASB Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation (New Zealand).

Mondex International is responsible for managing the Mondex technology and brand as well as new product development.

Further Information regarding Mondex is available on their web site at: www.mondex.com

MasterCard International

MasterCard International, a payments company with one of the world's most recognized brands, is dedicated to helping more than 23,000 financial institutions around the world offer consumers a variety of payment options. MasterCard remains focused on helping shape the future of money by expanding acceptance of its global brands (MasterCard(R), Maestro(R), Mondex(R) and Cirrus(R), the world's largest ATM network) and maintaining reliable, secure networks facilitating global value exchange. MasterCard has 400 million credit and debit cards that are accepted at more than 14 million merchant, cash and ATM locations world-wide. In 1996, gross dollar volume generated exceeded $550 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com .

CONTACT: Mondex International Ltd. | Gerry Hopkinson, +44 (0) 171 557 5016