Ennis is to take part in a banking experiment that will allow consumers to make payments using an electronic purse.

The latest innovation in electronic banking is to be tested in Ennis, Co Clare, Ireland's information age town.

Imagine your phone card could pay your restaurant bill, buy a paper from the newsagents, pay the parking metre or the bus driver, and is rechargeable when it runs out of money. Well, the people of Ennis won't have to imagine it.

The new device in an all-purpose money card known as an electronic purse which will work everywhere in the town from local shops to phone booths and parking metres. 

The card is due to be introduced in September 1998 as part of an experiment in banking being tested in seventeen countries throughout the world. The entire financial infrastructure of Ennis is to be adapted to facilitate the new card. 

The card is not a credit card. You have to put money into it before you can use it and it has a limit of £50.

The scheme is a collaborative effort by Telecom Éireann, Bank of Ireland and AIB, who say that the new system will have advantages for both the retailer and the consumer. Some of these advantages are outlined by AIB Ennis branch manager Tom Connolly.

This card hopes to virtually eliminate lose change from the nation's pocket.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 November 1997. The reporter is Anne Marie Smyth.