Electronic cash smartcards have been included in an updated version of the UK banking code of practice, published this week.
It is the first time that the code, which is supported by all the UK?s largest banks, building societies and card issuers, has applied to these 'electronic purses' - smartcards that can be pre-loaded with money via a cashpoint or telephone and used for small purchases.
The updated code states that cardholders will be liable for the loss of any money on their card if it is stolen, in the same way that they would be liable for stolen cash. If the card is loaded up with more money once it has been stolen the cardholder?s maximum liability is #50.
The proliferation of smartcards is still slow in the UK but analysts are anticipating widespread take-up within two or three years. Mondex, which is 51 per cent owned by Mastercard, currently has 60,000 cardholders taking part in a pilot of its electronic purse and Visa is planning to pilot its Visacash smartcard in the autumn.
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