Smart Card Alliance reports on retail industry

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 27, 2002

The issuing and acquiring infrastructure for smart payment cards is making rapid progress as key stakeholders gear up for a boom in consumer smart card use, according to the Smart Card Alliance.

According to studies from the Smart Card Alliance (SCA), a non-profit organisation which advocates widespread adoption of smart card technology, more than 21 million smart payment cards will be in circulation by the first quarter of 2003.

SCA's most recent white paper, entitled Smart Cards and the Retail Payments Infrastructure: Status, Drivers, and Directions, describes the current state of the smart card payments infrastructure in the US, discusses the key markets and applications that are expected to drive smart card usage and acceptance, and outlines the critical barriers to adoption of the technology.

The past year has seen many infrastructure developments such as the 300,000 smart card-ready payment terminals shipped in 2001, deployments of infrastructure at leading retail chains throughout the US, and the advance of smart card programmes from Target, Citibank and others, along with increasing readiness at the processor level.

"Our report gathers all the information regarding the readiness of the US payment and retail infrastructure to accept smart cards today, and identifies what remains to be done," explained Randy Vanderhoof, executive director for SCA.

Reinforcing the importance of smart card research to the retail industry, a recent report from the Food Marketing Institute stated, "Smart cards are almost certain to play an increasing role in the way which grocers do business in the not-so-distant future. By designing new payment and loyalty programmes in stores that take full advantage of smart cards' strengths and capabilities, grocers can ensure that they are smart about smart cards before consumers drive the demand again."

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At the same time as its white paper, SCA also published a case study on the new Ohio EBT Smart Card programme, which is a state-wide programme for benefits distribution with greatly reduced fraud levels. The programme involves more than 375,000 smart cards, which can be used in the 10,000 terminals installed in over 5,000 retail locations throughout Ohio.

Both reports, written primarily for executives and managers, have been made available for free download at SCA's web site.

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