Smart card vendors must shift focus from physical smart cards to software and services to sustain growth

LONDON, Sept. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The global smart card market will see steady growth due to the increasing emphasis on the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard in the payment and banking vertical. In 2015, multiple financial institutions in the US are expected to make their payment cards EMV-compliant. Countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific will follow suit.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, 2014 Global Smart Card Forecaster, finds that the market earned revenues of EUR5.37 billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach EUR7.16 billion in 2019. The SIM card segment will account for 42.6 percent of the total revenue while the banking and payment vertical will make up 33.5 percent. The smart card government ID and transportation sectors will constitute the rest.

For more information on this research, please email Edyta Grabowska, Corporate Communications, at

"In addition to the shift to EMV, financial institutions across the globe will migrate to contactless cards, opening up new opportunities for the smart card industry," said Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies Global Program Director Jean-Noel Georges. "China and Europe, in particular, will lead the way in terms of employment of contactless technologies."

However, this rapid shift to EMV contactless solutions and the associated large volume of shipments will cause pricing pressures in the smart card market, mainly in Asia-Pacific. A similar case is also expected in the US, where the uptake of EMV and contactless solutions has been considerably delayed. With many companies in the US having already invested in EMV in anticipation of a possible migration, it is uncertain whether these firms will have a positive return on investment.

To sustain growth pace, smart card vendors can leverage established relationships with government agencies and transport authorities to upgrade to high-end e-documents and e-ticketing cards, respectively. Building robust partnerships will be especially crucial as the government and ID smart card segment will provide additional avenues for revenue generation through the enhanced driver license (e-DL) and e-ID programs.

"The most prominent e-ID initiatives will take place in India, Turkey and Nigeria," observed Georges. "Meanwhile, the implementation of the e-DL program in the European Union will accelerate the demand for smart card documents in the public sector."

Overall, it is imperative for smart card vendors to switch their core business from physical smart cards to software and services, since the physical smart card market will offer limited growth potential in the long term. This is particularly true since the announcement of a software alternative named Host Card Emulation (HCE) that could threaten the well established hardware embedded security for mobile.

2014 Global Smart Card Forecaster is part of the Smart Cards ( Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related studies include: Government ID: A Fragmented and Competitive Market, and Payment Privacy Protection: Global Security Implications. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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2014 Global Smart Card Forecaster

Edyta Grabowska
Corporate Communications – Europe
P: +48 22 481 62 03