Four major smart card manufacturers have created a non-profit association, the Smart Payment Alliance, designed to speed up the transition from mag stripe payment cards to chip-based ones.
Birth of industry-wide association to facilitate and promote chip-based payment cards
Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Munich, and Paris–The world’s leading smart card manufacturers–Axalto, Gemplus International S.A., Giesecke & Devrient, and Oberthur Card Systems–have announced the creation of the Smart Payment Alliance (SPA), a non-profit association dedicated to fostering and facilitating the usage of smart cards to make payments. The SPA is committed to promoting chip card-based payment applications, improving value-added application interoperability, establishing relevant specifications, and improving security and quality.
The Smart Payment Alliance’s main objective is to accelerate the transition from traditional magnetic stripe cards to chip-based cards by:
- Promoting the benefits of smart cards for financial institutions
- Ensuring optimal interoperability between all system components, for both payment and value-added applications
- Establishing representation on standardization committees and within payment associations
- Describing use cases for value-added applications and, whenever necessary, establishing joint industry specifications for them
The strategy of the Alliance is to position itself as a partner of EMVCo and to bolster Visa and MasterCard actions on EMV specifications and their implementation.
Aiming to establish consistent specifications, the Alliance members will be involved in very focused workgroups. Meeting regularly, they will carry out projects to advance interoperability as well as develop additional smart payment solutions, which would be difficult to achieve without the concentration of such industrial knowledge.
“The creation of the Smart Payment Alliance means we will be able to better serve the payment market,” says Philippe Combes, Executive Vice President of Operations and Financial Services at Gemplus. “The association will highlight the advantages of chip-based payment cards, encourage adoption and collaborate closely to develop added-value applications that meet our customers’ needs today and tomorrow.”
Marie-Jane Denis, Director of Finance Marketing and Solutions at Oberthur Card Systems, sees interoperability as one of the key messages. “To improve interoperability between all the elements of a payment card system, e.g. cards and terminals, the SPA will devise joint industry specifications–especially for value-added applications–whenever necessary and not already covered by the payment associations.”
Bertrand Knopf, Director of Banking and Loyalty Smart Cards at Axalto, emphasizes that broad industry coverage through the Alliance’s membership base is crucial for success. “Of course, the association is open to additional members from the payment card industry. Card vendors, terminal vendors, and payment associations willing to contribute to the success of EMV and multi-application cards are welcome and invited to join.”
Michael Kuemmerle, Executive Vice President of Payment Cards at Giesecke & Devrient, commenting on the competitive situation among the members, says, “The different companies will facilitate market growth together while continuing to compete for market share by differentiating their products and services.”
About Giesecke & Devrient
Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is a technology leader in the field of smart cards, providing systems and solutions for telecommunications, electronic payment transactions, transportation, health, ID, loyalty, and multimedia applications as well as Internet security (PKI). G&D is also a leading provider of banknotes and securities as well as currency processing equipment. The Giesecke & Devrient Group, headquartered in Munich, Germany, operates subsidiaries and joint ventures all over the world. G&D employs around 6,800 people worldwide and generates an annual revenue in excess of €1.05 billion. For more information, visit www.gi-de.com.
Axalto is the world’s leading provider of microprocessor cards (Gartner Dataquest 2004)–the key to digital networks–and a major supplier of point-of-sale terminals. Its 4,500 employees come from 70 nationalities and serve customers in more than 100 countries, with worldwide sales reaching 3 billion smart cards to date. The company has 25 years’ experience in smart card innovation and leads its industry in security technology and open systems.
Axalto continuously creates new generations of products for use in a variety of applications in the telecommunications, finance, retail, transport, entertainment, healthcare, personal identification, information technology and public sector markets. Microprocessor cards provide convenience, security and privacy to public and private services operators, their customers and end users. For more information, visit www.axalto.com.
About Oberthur Card Systems
With sales of 430.1 million Euros in 2003, Oberthur Card Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of card-based solutions, software and applications including SIM and multi-application smart cards as well as services ranging from consulting to personalization. Innovative products, security expertise and high quality services ensure Oberthur Card Systems’ strong positioning in its main target markets. Oberthur Card Systems is a subsidiary of the François-Charles Oberthur Group. For more information, visit www.oberthurcs.com.
Gemplus International S.A. is the world’s leading player in the smart card industry in both revenue and total shipments (source: Gartner-Dataquest (2004), Frost & Sullivan, Datamonitor.). It has sold over 4 billion smart cards. With security at its core, and 2,400 patents produced by its innovative R&D team, Gemplus delivers a wide range of portable, personalized solutions in areas including Identity, Mobile Telecommunications, Public Telephony, Banking, Retail, Transport, Healthcare, WLAN, Pay-TV, e-government, and access control. Gemplus’ revenue in 2003 was 749 million Euros. For more information, visit: www.gemplus.com.