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We continue to add history and images for the United Kingdom for Visa Cash card programs. Visa International is organized in such a way that many regions throughout the world govern local processing and programs. Visa has a very large organization based in London. Much of Visa's direction for financial institutions associated with Visa in the UK, came out of London with (of course) lots of communication and direction from Visa headquarters in San Mateo. Most of the Visa Cash cards issued for public use were for the test trials in Leeds. Thanks to contributors this page has become one of the best on the website. Additionally, more and more is being discovered about the Leeds trail which we will publish in the near future.

Also, we have found that Index, which was invented and first developed by National Westminster Bank which is headquartered in London, had a number of issuers and pilot programs running in the UK. Index pilots were especially active at university campus environments. We have a separate page featuring and reviewing Index card history programs in the UK.

Visa Headquarters (London)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

 Used at:
VHL (1)

 50 Units

Jun-97

Unknown

 Unknown

2,000

In-House tests

 Cafeteria
VHL (2)  

30 Units

  Jul-99

Schlumberger

Schlumberger

5,000

In-House tests

 Cafeteria
VHL (R1)

E-Purse

Sep-97

Unknown

Solaic

Unknown

In-House tests

 Cafeteria

VHL (R2)

E-Purse

Sep-97

Unknown

De La Rue

Unknown

In-House tests

 Cafeteria

VHL (R3)

E-Purse

Dec-97

Unknown

De La Rue

Unknown

In-House tests

 Cafeteria
VHL (R4)

E-Purse

Nov-99

Unknown

De La Rue

Unknown

In-House tests

 Cafeteria
VHL (MER1)

No Value

Mar-98

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Leeds Trial

 Merchants

 

Click on any image below to enlarge:

We are continuing to research the the trials at Visa Headquarters in London.

During the Leeds trial, the Visa Cash Merchant Card (VCMC), also called a PSAM (Purchase Secure Application Module) card were used in each merchant's point of sale (POS) terminal that accepted Visa Cash cards. The VCMC was used to authenticate each and every Visa Cash transaction with that particular POS terminal was a real transaction and not fraudulent. The VCMC used a very sophisticated technology to cryptographically check the consumer's Visa Cash card. It verified that money had been removed from the consumer's Visa Cash card and that the card was valid.

The VCMC authenticated purchase transactions “offline”, that is, not connected to the main bank computer all the time. Typically once a day the POS terminal automatically called a financial institution’s collection point (the main bank computer) to transfer that day's transactions and credit the merchant’s bank account. It was vital (for obvious reasons) to make sure that these purchase transactions were valid and not altered for larger amounts or forged.  The VCMC also provided a way for the merchant to be paid if for any reason the merchant’s POS terminal lost any or all transactions. The merchant would always be paid on the total provided by the VCMC and thus provided assurance to the merchants that they would be paid regardless of any problems in their POS terminals.

Additionally, there were other even more sophisticated security features used to prevent fraud with disposable Visa Cash cards, in order to prevent the manufacture of counterfeit Visa Cash cards. The above VCMC is a specific version of the VCMC that supported these more technically advanced security features. These advanced security features both on the VCMC and Visa Cash cards proved so secure that there was never any fraud from counterfeit cards nor any breaches into the chip to add value to the card during the course of the Visa Cash card programs, worldwide.

Note the area of the VCMC card where the chip could be punched out. This area of the card was the SIM, which stands for “Subscriber's Identity Module”. SIM chips are now commonly used in cell phones today, but in mid-1990’s was at the leading edge of technology. Visa had the VCMC’s manufactured so that the SIM could be easily punched out, so that a merchant’s POS terminal didn't need to provide room for an entire card (although most probably did).

Lastly, these VCMC’s were actually the property of Visa and its financial institutions and were not for sale to the general public and available only to the specific merchant(s) for use in participating in the Visa Cash program(s).

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Abbey National Bank - United Kingdom ABN (R1)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

 Used at:
ABN (R1)

E-Purse

Jun-99

Solaic

Solaic

Unknown

Leeds Pilot

 Merchants

Click on image below to enlarge:

Barclays Bank - United Kingdom BBK (R1)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

Used at:
BBK (R1)

E-Purse

Aug-00

Unkown

Unknown

Unknown

Leeds Pilot

Merchants

Click on image below to enlarge:

Very little is known about the Barclays Visa Cash program other than it was run by Barclays in the city of Leeds in the UK circa 1997. We do know from the card expiry date that the program may have ended in August, 2000, but we do not know when it started, if there were other cards issued for the program, etc. If you know more about this program please send us an email.

 

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The Co-operative Bank - United Kingdom COB (R1)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

 Used at:
COB (R1)

E-Purse

N/A

Unkown

De La Rue

Unknown

Leeds Pilot

 Merchants

Click on image below to enlarge:

We were recently sent a Visa Cash card which VisaCash.org has never seen. The Co-operative Bank was one of the banks that participated in the Visa Cash pilot in the city of Leeds in the UK circa 1997. These cards were used at merchant locations set up by Visa to test the Visa Cash concept. Additionally we were told that they could be used to buy Metro buses for tickets during the Leeds pilot. Each card was personalized and contained the a unique card number. Note also, that this Visa Cash card expired at the end of November 1999 and could be value could be reloaded at the Co-operative Bank's ATM's.

 

To the left is the Co-operative Bank's Visa Cash card being inserted into a standard Visa Viewer. The Visa Viewer was designed to read the amount of value left in the card. These viewers read most Visa Cash cards issued worldwide. Note how Visa designed the Visa Viewer to double as a key ring, making it handy to carry around in your pocket or purse.

It is not known all the countries which Visa Cash chip standards would allow or not allow the use of a Visa Viewer. Singapore is one country where Visa Cash cards issue for use in Singapore could not be read by a Visa Viewer. This is because it's Visa Cash program took advantage of the "Cash Card" program and system standard already in place. If you know of other countries, please let us know.

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The Royal Bank of Scotland - United Kingdom RBS (R1)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

Used at:
RBS (R1)

E-Purse

Sep-01

Unkown

De La Rue

Unknown

Leeds Pilot

Merchants

Click on image below to enlarge:

We believe that RBS issued their Visa Cash card in conjunction with the same pilot in Leeds along with the Barclays Visa Cash program. Note the great design on the back of this card with it's abstract chip and electronic circuitry making it appear electronics run throughout the card. 

 

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AIB Bank - Ireland AIB (R1)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

Used at:
AIB (R1)

E-Purse

Dec-00

Unkown

De La Rue

Unknown

Ennis Town Pilot

Merchants

Click on image below to enlarge:

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Bank of Ireland - Ireland BOI (R1)

Catalog #

Cash

Expired

Chip

Card Mfr.

Quantity

Venue

Used at:
BOI (R1)

E-Purse

Dec-00

Unkown

Unknown

Unknown

Ennis Town Pilot

Merchants

Click on image below to enlarge:

The two Irish Visa Cash cards were issued by AIB Bank and the Bank of Ireland for use in at merchants in and around the town of Ennis. Note the words "Information Age" on the front of the AIB (R1) Visa Cash card as Ennis, at the time, was being promoted to be at the forefront of technology. This was to promote and attract companies to build manufacturing facilities and create jobs in Ireland. More to come on the Ennis Town Visa Cash card pilot.

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If you or someone you know has more information concerning the Visa Cash card programs in the United Kingdom or Ireland, please contact us.