This paper uses a unique data set covering 12 national systems to document the current state of electronic purse projects in Europe. Specifically, it presents and compares rates of penetration and use, and analyses their evolution over time. While one or two EPs perform significantly better than the others, retailer acceptance and consumer uptake invariably fall short of expectations. This does not bode well for the use of EPs on the Internet, and particularly since the virtual world presents a number of additional hurdles. On the other hand, it may also present additional opportunities.