Contactless made up over half of all cards issued in 2015

Visa US EMV card inserted into POS terminal

Of the two billion chip cards issued in 2015 around the world, 56% were contactless, said the Smart Payment Association (SPA), the trade body of the smart payments industry.

The figures collected by the SPA from its members found that 2060 million payment chip cards were shipped globally in 2015, marking an increase of 34% on last year’s figures.

One of the big drivers of this increase has been the increasing momentum of EMV card adoption in the US. In 2015, SPA members report making 570 million smart payment card shipments to the US – a two-fold increase on 2014 numbers. MasterCard’s research, published earlier this month, also highlighted the increasing EMV momentum in the US.

Just this week, the payments giant also introduced a new feature of EMV cards that allow them to be dipped and removed from a POS terminal in as little as two seconds. Last week Visa introduced the same for its cards.

“Crucially, the data also reveals how fast the adoption of EMV-standard technology in the United States took off in a significant way in 2015, as issuers proceeded at full speed with the implementation of EMV migration,” said Andreas Strobel, President of the SPA.

High volume shipments in China are contributing too with a 27% growth versus previous year.

Unsurprisingly, cards with contactless capabilities continued to dominate with 56% of all smart card shipments globally (excluding the Americas) featured contactless technology. This marks an impressive 24% growth as compared to the year before.

SPA says this is mainly down to the demand in European markets where 53% of cards issued last year were contactless. Another source of contactless demand came from the Asia-Pacific market where an impressive 74% of cards featured contactless technologies. This is likely to continue increasing with the introduction of other NFC-enabled devices such as mobiles, powered by Apple and Samsung’s payment services.

“Consumer demand for faster and more convenient ways to pay proved the driving force behind a further steep growth in contactless shipments in Europe and Asia. With EMV adoption powering ahead in the US, issuers are in a unique position to make the jump directly from ‘swipe and sign’ to ‘tap & go’ to everyone’s benefit : customers, merchants and them as well,” added Strobel.

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