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South Africa Visa Branded Smart Cards

(From the South African Media Release: November 11, 1998) First National Bank (FNB), Nedcor Bank and Visa International issued these smart card based payment cards. The smart cards, which are all branded with the distinctive Visa v.chip logo, allow payments to be made at point of sale without cash or cheques changing hands. The unique chip technology enables instantaneous transfer of funds without the usual lengthy and cumbersome authorisation procedure. Both banks have already issued 500,000 smartcards to their customers. The FNB/Nedcor Bank Visa v.chip smart cards are pin-protected and have all the features of ordinary ATM cards and credit cards, but with added benefits. Smart cards can function either as debit or credit cards. Whereas the credit card allows usage against a pre-set credit limit, the debit card requires that there be available funds in the account. A definite advantage is the speed of the transaction, which takes place off-line without dialing up to a bank's mainframe computer systems for authorisation. All participating retailers are equiped with smart card readers.

FNB's v.chip cards comprise a cheque and a transmission account card. The cheque card can be used in place of written cheques while the transmission account card needs to be loaded at an ATM before it can be used for shopping and should it be lost, the unspent funds will be refunded by the bank.

Nedcor Bank's current v.chip card, which will be made available through Peoples Bank, functions like an electronic wallet which is loaded to the user's credit limit, allowing funds to be spent on retail goods and services.

Other South Africa

South Africa Checque Card (Image courtesy D. Ulrich)

South Africa Checque Card Reverse (Image courtesy D. Ulrich)

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