Electronic cash and universally usable stored value cards are coming to France, according to the AP.
There's a ton of reasons that stored value cards are a good idea, some of which I outlined in this piece from netWorker magazine about five years ago. There's also a ton of reasons that they're a bad idea; the most compelling one being that people have demonstrated several times all over the world that they don't seem to want them.
But them wacky French, they pushed Minitel on their country, then let the Internet run right over it. This story seems to be saying that the trial phase is over, and that the French banks are simply going to push e-cash on the country. It'll be interesting to see how the French central bank deals with non-currency currency.