MasterCard has launched a four-pronged approach that covers all the elements needed to launch a successful smart card programme.
For years, consumers have said that they would like to reduce the number of cards that they carry in their wallets and purses. One way of doing that is to use cards that serve more than one purpose: a single card could for example function as a credit card, a loyalty card for multiple retailers, a means of collecting and redeeming e-coupons, an electronic purse for paying small amounts (like parking fees or vending machines), a phone card, a library card and an identity card. The list is endless. But it won't happen until smart cards achieve a "critical mass" and almost all retailers are equipped to use them.
MasterCard's latest move is a significant step in that direction. Recent consumer research carried out by MasterCard revealed that consumers want a card that they can control and customise as they see fit. They also want it to be personal, rewarding, portable and secure. On the basis of that finding, MasterCard has launched OneSmart MasterCard, which consolidates, under one banner, all of MasterCard's smart card solutions, technical expertise and marketing support. A four-pronged approach covers all the elements needed (consumer value, technology, implementation support and marketing) to launch a successful smart card programme.
According to MasterCard, the key to delivering the best smart card solutions is giving the cardholder compelling reasons to use the card, thereby creating profitable programmes for members and merchants.
Choose from menu
With OneSmart, members can choose from a broad menu of smart card applications, including: chip-based credit and debit, personal data storage, digital ID and security, loyalty, e-ticketing, e-couponing and stored value. They are free to decide which applications or services they wish to bundle with their card programmes. They can also choose the size of chip, the technology platform employed, and whether they want to add extra security features. MasterCard has assembled a reference list of some 50 leading vendors who are committed to helping its members implement smart card programmes.
Theodore Iacobuzio, director of consumer credit research at TowerGroup, the Boston-based research and consulting firm, says: "We expect to see a steady increase of chip programmes in the U.S. - with more than 50 million smart cards by 2005."