Magazine article American Banker

Burger King to Distribute, Load Mondex Cards in Test

Magazine article American Banker

Burger King to Distribute, Load Mondex Cards in Test

Article excerpt

Mondex USA and Burger King Corp. are set to launch their joint smart card test today east of New York City.

For the first time, a retailer will distribute Mondex cards and allow for reloading of value on their chips.

The cobranded cards will also be the first in the country combining Mondex electronic cash with a retailer's loyalty point system.

The test is scheduled to run six months at four locations in the Long Island suburbs of East Meadow, Garden City, and Westbury.

They are by design at some remove from the highest-profile U.S. smart card experiment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Chase Manhattan Bank and Citibank have issued about 70,000 Mondex and Visa Cash cards in that area, where fast-food restaurants are among hundreds of participating locations.

"This is a different twist on Mondex issuance," said Janet S. Crane, president of San Francisco-based Mondex USA, part of the MasterCard- controlled Mondex International organization. "This is the first time our card is being issued out of a retailer's location."

With the cards distributed through on-site machines and the processing bank-Chase-behind the scenes, "we are reaching consumers we wouldn't necessarily pick up in a normal bank card distribution," Ms. Crane said.

They might include teenagers, other students, people without bank accounts, and "anyone we might attract through other than normal banking channels," she said.

Later in the summer Mondex will be accepted at drive-through lanes of the two test outlets so equipped. The chain does half its sales through those windows.

Anticipation about this "different twist" has been building since Ms. Crane revealed the Mondex-Burger King connection in January. Only sketchy details were available until this week.

Terminals have been operating for two weeks at a store in the Roosevelt Field Mall-a "beta site" designed to ensure the public launch would be bug- free.

Ms. Crane said positive signs are already emerging. Employees within the mall who frequent Burger King responded well, the Burger King workers most of all.

"The employees tend to be the younger people" Mondex is targeting, she said. …

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