Leading European payment association Europay International has introduced a quality certification scheme for payment cards.
Payment cards which meet Europay International's Card Quality Management (CQM) scheme standards are certified by the organisation. The assessment methodology is based on the certification of individual sites, services and information systems.
Europay worked with the smart card industry for more than three years to set up the scheme, which focuses on IC manufacturing, module manufacturing and card embedding and is based on ISO9000 and QS9000 standards.
Arnaud du Chéné, manager smart card implementation, Europay International, says: "We are now in a position to accurately assess the overall quality of ICs, modules and card production facilities while minimising the impact on the industry in terms of cost and time-to-market."
CQM certification highlights the association's experience of payment card quality control and experience in reviewing the quality of card-embedding integrated circuits (IC) and the manufacturing process.
The first two CQM certificates have been issued to STMicroelectronics (France) for its smart card chip and Gemplus (France & UK) for the cards. The companies produced very high quality cards by working together in a supply chain. The chain ranged from manufacturing the card and IC to final shipment.
The assessment methodology is hierarchical and allows individual future approval of different products, even if they are constructed by different supply chains.