Contactless payments, U.S. EMV migration power sharp increase in smart card growth

The migration to EMV-standard chip and PIN cards in the U.S., and the growing demand for contactless technologies defined a high-growth payment card market in 2014, according a news release from the Smart Payment Association.

Preliminary figures, released in advance of the SPA’s annual review of the card payment market, show that more than 1.5 billion smart payment cards were shipped globally last year, with some 40 percent featuring contactless ‘tap and go’ technology.

The U.S. accounted for 185 million card and module shipments as the country makes the transition to chip and PIN. This number was significantly higher than the 30 million cards shipped in 2013.

Contactless technology continued its rapid global growth. In 2014, 4 out of every 10 smart payment cards featured the ‘tap and go’ technology, with SPA members shipping a total of over 600 million contactless payment cards in the year.

This figure represents year-over-year growth of 35 percent, with much of the increase driven by Europe and Asia, where contactless cards represented slightly more than 50 percent of total shipments in 2014.

In the U.S., less than 10 percent of cards shipped in 2014 featured contactless technology — a figure in line with the maturity of the EMV market.

The data, collated by the SPA — whose seven members represent approximately 85 percent percent of the total available market — also highlighted the primacy of the dynamic data authentication technology. DDA provides chip and PIN cards with high levels of protection against modification of data and card cloning, the release said. 70 percent of cards shipped in 2014 featured this technology — up from 66 percent in 2013.

“In 2014 we saw banks and retailers respond to consumer demands for faster and more convenient and more secure ways to pay as contactless shipments grew to their highest levels,” said Sylvie Gibert, president of the Smart Payment Association. “Crucially, the continued and growing adoption of EMV-standard technology in the U.S. not only adds a greater security dimension, but offers contactless possibilities — both on the card and through embedded secure elements within NFC-enabled mobile devices.”

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