Contactless card shipments jump, say SPA

Contactless payment card shipments accelerated globally in 2013, according to data released by the Smart Payment Association (SPA) at an opening-day session at the Cartes Secure Connexions America 2014 conference and exhibition in Las Vegas.

In its annual review of the smart payment card market, the SPA reports that contactless technologies were present on over one-third (37 percent) of all smart payment cards shipped in 2013.

By far the greatest increase was experienced in the Asia Pacific region, where contactless shipments grew by a staggering 193 percent compared to 2012. Other regions around the world experienced strong growth rates, ranging from 45 percent in the Americas to 64 percent in Western Europe.

Whether in the form of a ‘tap-and-go’ credit or debit card, or contactless payments via a smartphone, growing consumer and retailer desire for the convenience and opportunities presented by contactless payment accounts for this rapid growth. In 2013, more than 450 million contactless cards were delivered by SPA members in over 30 countries worldwide, demonstrating that the full potential for consumers, providers and retailers is now being realized.

Shipments of dual interface cards, incorporating both chip and PIN and contactless technologies, grew by an impressive 115 percent in 2013, largely driven by growth in Asia and Europe. As a result, dual interface cards now represent 94 percent of all contactless shipments.

The data, collated by the SPA – whose six members represent more than 85 percent of the total available market – reveals the migration to contactless payment is a reality in more than 30 countries worldwide. The deployment of contact payment infrastructures, which includes terminals and point of sale (POS), is paving the way for mobile payments and accelerating the introduction of NFC to mass markets.

More than 1.5 billion cards were shipped last year, with the highest increase once again recorded in the Asia Pacific region (up 75 percent) driven largely by China’s migration to chip-based payments and the initiation of the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard in India. Strong growth of 12 percent in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was in part driven by SEPA rules which enforce chip and PIN and the growth of EMV in Russia. A substantial 37 percent growth in North America reflects the rollout of EMV in Canada and the escalating migration to EMV currently underway in the USA.

The drive to increased card security also continued apace in 2013. Adoption rates of Dynamic Data Authentication (DDA) mechanisms escalated by over 66 percent, accounting for more than half of all global card shipments thanks to the major payment schemes pushing forward with DDA or Combined Data Authentication (CDA) schemes to combat fraud and respond to the increasing adoption of contactless payments.

The majority of dual interface cards are now using DDA technology, with significant growth being seen in mature and rapidly maturing markets. Asia Pacific exhibited the greatest increase in DDA adoption (up 155 percent) while the Americas demonstrated strong growth of 77 percent. Meanwhile, CISMEA & Eastern Europe combined saw an increase of 31 percent in DDA-enabled cards.

SPA’s review of the smart payment market highlights that EMV is now a truly established, global, secure and interoperable infrastructure, with NFC operating as a contactless extension that’s paving the way for today’s fast evolving connected world.

“The data from this report reveals a growing desire by consumers for the convenience and immediacy of contactless payment, and issuers are responding with innovative payment options, including those with transit features that put them ‘top of wallet’,” says Sylvie Gibert, president of the Smart Payment Association.

“The acceleration of contactless payments is, in turn, fueling demand for mobile payments via NFC, which in itself represents a major mass market transition. The SPA plays a key role in shaping the future of smart payments, not just through its thought leadership, but also with its ongoing involvement in the evolution of SEPA, EMV and ISO standards maximizing the very highest levels of interoperability and security, regardless of form factor.”

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