The global smart card market (henceforth, referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 8.14 billion in 2019, and it is expected to reach USD 11.50 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 6.19%, during the period of 2020-2025. In the past decade, the information age has witnessed an array of security and privacy issues that have called for advanced smart card security applications. In addition to this, the advent of multifunction cards has allowed managing network system access and store value and other data.
- The need for security of applications that employ critical information, documents, and credential is leading to an increasing adoption of smart contact-less card technology, as they enhance security through encryption and communication between the smart card device and the card reader.
- Apart from this, smart cards are increasingly getting deployed as a tool of stored value, particularly in loyalty programs across various sectors, like transportation, parking, and retail that track data and offer incentives to retain their customer bases.
- The growing need for convenience and security regarding transactions has made the adoption of smart cards highly relevant. It is gaining more prominence over other machine-readable cards, as the former requires a much lower cost of maintenance.
- In September 2019, Standard Chartered Bank launched “DigiSmart” credit card that focusses on the convenience needs of the millennials segment. This credit card has been designed to offer instant benefits across key e-commerce categories of travel, entertainment, fashion, groceries and food delivery throughout the year.
Key Market Trends
Contactless Smart Card is Expected to Drive the Market
- Contactless smart cards differ from contact-based smart cards because the chip is not visible on the card. Instead, the chip and its antenna are embedded within the card’s body. The card is waved over an RFID reader instead of inserted like a contact card. When the contactless card passes through the specifically tuned RFID field, the antenna powers up the chip and relays its information to the application.
- Furthermore, account information is transmitted wirelessly over radio frequency (RF). The consumer's contactless payment device can assume a variety of form factors, including cards, near field communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones, and wearables. Contactless transactions are cryptographically secure and generate a unique code for each transaction.
- Moreover, contactless is finding its place globally, particularly in transit. For instance, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reported that the OMNY system surpassed 5 million total taps in January, since the start of the pilot. Though transit is a major driver of the technology, acceptance is still not uniform in other retail outlets.
- Additionally, in the beginning of 2020, Helsinki Regional Transport signed a deal with LittlePay to introduce contactless smart payments across all modes of transport in Finland's capital, as part of a three-year deal. Work has already started on the roll-out across Helsinki's ferry, rail, and bus systems. Furthermore, the introduction of contactless payments is seen as a vital way in boosting the use of public transport.
Asia-Pacific to be the Fastest Growing Market during the Forecast Period
- Emerging economies across Asia-Pacific are set to offer potential opportunities for the growth of the smart card market, owing to the growth of a robust financial system that is getting increasingly digitized and push by the government agencies to incorporate smart chip-based systems for better monitoring of processes.
- China has been one of the pioneers in phasing out checks and introducing contactless payments, leading to the introduction of digital cards. In November 2019, Alipay, China’s leading payment platform, was serving more than 1.2 billion customers. China’s ID cards feature an embedded chip and digital encryption. The card contains personal information, including the individual’s full name in the Chinese characters, gender, ethnicity, date of birth, domicile, identification number, and a color photo.
- Enterprises across the region are also involved in partnerships to expand their services to China. For instance, IDEX Biometrics and Goldpac partnered to introduce dual-interface biometric smart cards to the customers in China and beyond. In addition, the company also teamed up with Excelsecu, a Shenzhen-based security solutions provider specializing in security solutions, including FIDO-based security keys, one-time password systems, and smart cards.
- The developing regions, including India, are likely to propel the demand. For instance, in 2018, the Madhya Pradesh government in India announced the distribution of smart cards to 17.6 million workers in the unorganized sector in the state. The new cards are claimed to have more exhaustive information printed on both sides of the cards while bearing a unique number recognized across the country. The Government of Chhattisgarh also introduced an e-card that can be used by citizens to get health services.
The smart card market is fragmented. Some of the major players are using tactics such as partnerships, new product launches, agreements, expansions, innovations, joint ventures acquisitions, and other strategies to increase their footprints in this market. Besides, many other players are looking to expand their production capacity, especially in Asia-Pacific, which is the fastest growing smart card market. In the emerging economies, companies are focussing on launching new smart card products for government and transportation applications. Some of the recent developments are as follow:-
- February 2020- Bundesdruckerei GmbH collaborated with Gematik GmbH to set up and operate the key generation service 2 (SGD2) for the ePA as a service of the telematics infrastructure (TI) for the electronic health card.
- October 2019 - CardLogix has started looking for clients owing to the official release of NXP’s latest generation Java Card OS, JCOP 4 technology backed smart cards with custom applet development and existing applet support. JCOP 4 smart cards deliver benchmark transaction performance for EMV payments and other high-speed applications.
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