December 1997, The first Mondex pilot in western Canada
was launched in October in Regina.
The pilot is co-sponsored by Credit Union Central of
Saskatchewan (CUCS), Credit Union Central of Canada
and CUETS. Pilot participants include about 270 employees
of CUCS and CUETS, Beaver Foods Cafeteria (which operates
the cafeteria in the building shared by CUETS and CUCS
in Regina) and ACE Credit Union, ACE serves employees
of CUCS, CUETS, and other Saskatchewan credit unions,
and will manage the Mondex value - the electronic cash
- for the duration of the pilot.
"We have a number of pilot objectives in mind," says
Bev Maxim, CUCS product manager, electronic account
access. "We want to raise awareness of the product among
our staff and within the credit union system in Saskatchewan,
because Mondex e-cash will be something that credit
unions, Central and CUETS staff will have to deal with
in the future. We also want to position the credit union
system as being leaders in the new technology before
it becomes more generally available to people."
The CUCC/CUCS/CUETS Mondex pilot, running until the
end of 1998, is a closed trial in that everything will
take place in one building. Employees who volunteered
to participate in the trial have been issued with trial
Mondex cards that they can only use to make purchases
at the office cafeteria. ACE Credit Union also operates
a branch within the building.
Employees will be able to go to ACE Credit Union and
ask the credit union to load their cards with up to
$500 worth of value that they can then spend on their
cafeteria purchases. When a purchase is made, special
transaction equipment reads the value on the purchaser's
card, debits the amount of purchase, and automatically
transfers the value of the purchase amount on to the
card of the vendor.
"It's a chip-to-chip transfer," says Greg Miller, CUETS'
development manager of Merchant Products. "As soon as
the amount is taken off my card, it goes onto the vendor's
card. There is no need to authorize the transaction
as would be the case with a typical credit or debit
Both Miller and Maxim expect an enthusiastic response
from all trial participants. "Compared to cash, the
Mondex card is fast and convenient to use for both the
purchaser and the vendor. You don't need to wait for
or make change. And the vendor doesn't have to count
cash at the end of the day; all the transactions are
handled electronically," says Miller.
Mondex e-cash may be even better than cash in some
respects. "If you lose cash, it's gone. If you lose
a Mondex card and it's locked with your personal password,
it can't be used by anyone else. If it's found or returned
to the credit union, you can unlock it and get your
The pilot is modelled after the Mondex trial in Guelph
and is building on the Guelph experience to some extent.
"For example, we're piggybacking on the support structure
CUETS put in place for the Guelph trials, such as the
helpline currently operated for the Mondex pilot in
Guelph. That will now be extended to serve Saskatchewan
pilot participants. We're also using the Guelph and
Wellington Credit Union. For example, Marilyn Benson
was a great resource for our training session."
Credit union branch procedures for the pilot were developed
in part by CUCS. Marketing material developed by Credit
Union Central of Canada are also being leveraged for
the Mondex trial.