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Electronic Portfolio Essay

9725 words - 39 pages

3 1. INTRODUCTION Greece will become part of the Euro Zone in 2001. This means that the Hellenic Republic will have only one year to prepare the introduction of eurodenominated banknotes and coins on the 1st of January, 2002. For the Greek banking system, the year 2001 will thus be a year of intense activity. Even if it was already clear, at the end of 1999, that Greece would succeed in complying with the major criteria to become member of the Euro Zone, Greek industry and public opinion is obviously less well prepared for the new currency than the other 11 Euro countries, that have introduced the first phase of the new common currency in January 1999.In Greece, the timeframe left for enterprises, especially SME's, and for the general public to adapt to the new Euro notes and coins to be introduced in 2002 is very short. A study published by the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA) in 1998 under the title "Monetary unification and Introduction of the Euro "" Financial implications and the competitive challenge for the Greek banking sector" concluded that the cost for the Greek Banks of switching to the Euro would be at the higher end of the estimated range partly because of the large percentage of cash transactions in payments in Greece. The need to reduce the number of banknotes and coins in circulation is one of the reasons why other European countries where cash payments are frequent (i.e. Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal) have decided to promote the use of the Electronic Purse (EP). One of the main objectives announced by these countries is to make the transition to the Euro easier for the national economy (and the banks), by transferring part of these payments on the Electronic Purse: a special "immediate payment" facility with electronic money put on a chipcard. Technically, the chip on these cards is able to handle both payments denominated in Euros and in the national currency. As such, the EP could play 4 an important role in educating the public and in ensuring a smooth transition towards the Euro.The ease of use of the chipcards at the basis of the electronic purse technology facilitates public acceptance. This phenomenon has already been observed in the field of telecommunications, where these "smart" cards have become the standard means of payment for public telephones.The study that follows will describe the economic, technological and security aspects of the electronic purse and the main trials and experiences being held in various European countries; introduce the perspective of the links between this EP chipcard and future developments - such as the second phase of the introduction of the Euro and e-commerce -; describe the evolving international standard; and, finally, evoke the conditions for a possible introduction of the Electronic Purse in the Hellenic Banking system.5 2. ECONOMIC AND TECHNICAL (INCLUDING SECURITY) ASPECTS OF THE ELECTRONIC PURSE The basic idea of the electronic purse (EP) is very attractive. With this type...

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