PALO ALTO, Calif., March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Successful projects around the world, like transit and ID programs in APAC, along with advances in the U.S. payments market, are stirring up interest in the rest of the world where these applications are slower to take off. Lessons learned and flourishing use of these contactless cards in some countries give confidence to other regions to follow suit.
In March 2005, MasterCard International and Visa International announced that they had reached an agreement to use a common communications protocol for contactless payment cards and devices. This is expected to increase and ensure interoperability between contactless payment cards and devices. The use of a common protocol for conducting contactless payments will enable vendors to streamline product development and testing, leading to reduced implementation costs and faster time to market for financial institutions and merchants. With a common protocol in place, merchants are expected to have the assurance that a single point of sale terminal may support multiple payment brands, and would require less time for terminal programming and testing.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.smartcards.frost.com ), World Contactless Smart Cards Markets, reveals that in 2004 the total unit shipment for the world contactless smart card market was 150.56 million units and expects to reach 1.17 billion units by 2010.
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"As the dominant areas of use in contactless smart cards become more established areas such as banking, government, telecommunications and security, people will start to realize that the benefits of contactless are far reaching," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Michelle Foong. "Other areas like medical, gaming (betting) and emergency services are starting to look into the use of smart cards to fill the need for security, volume and speed in their sectors. For example, in healthcare and emergency services, medical personnel need to be identified in an instant to ensure that the efficient flow of medical services is provided."
National IDs and passports are areas of massive implementations, where places like United States, China and Europe have sufficiently large populations to generate demand for contactless technology. Where mandates are imposed, the pressure to comply is significant. Other agencies relating to defense, transit and government services are pushing for contactless rollouts to cope with security and efficiency needs.
Progress in National IDs and passports in countries which were previously not as technologically superior as first world countries are showing that the educational barriers have come down significantly in many places, like projects in China, Brazil, Macedonia, Malaysia and Thailand. Unlike other technological advances, some of the more advanced countries are learning from the experiences and successes of these countries before they take the leap themselves. Consumers are starting to integrate contactless technology into their way of life without the apprehension and anxiety previously seen.