As of third quarter 2001, MasterCard and Europay's member financial institutions have issued more than 100 million MasterCard, Maestro, Mondex, and Clip-branded smart cards to their customers around the world.
"Global smart card adoption is now reaching critical mass," asserts Art Kranzley, chief e-business officer, MasterCard International, about the figures.
More than half of the cards issued carry value-added, non-payment applications, such as loyalty, digital identification, e-ticketing, e-coupons, or personal data storage, say the companies. Cards counted in this total include EMV-compliant multiapplication cards carrying M/Chip and other value-added applications, to magnetic stripe debit cards carrying an electronic purse function on the chip.
Europe is the leading region in terms of current smart card issuance. In France, all MasterCard-branded cards are smart cards, and the United Kingdom is mid-way through a national migration to chips. Across Europe, banks are in the throes of a continent-wide migration to the global EMV standard, for interoperable cards and terminals.
As of third quarter 2001, some 330,000 MasterCard smart cards have been issued in Brazil, with the total expected to reach 850,000 by year's end 2001. Similar activity is now underway in Mexico and other countries in the region, says MasterCard.
In the Asia/Pacific region, one million Multos multiapplication smart cards have been issued under MasterCard's $2.99 chip programme. Kookmin Card Co. of Korea recently issued 300,000 multi-application smart cards incorporating Mondex, as part of the TradePass program in Korea. Taipei Bank in Taiwan is also issuing two new cards to government employees, one for corporate purchasing and one programme for corporate T&E.
In the Middle East/Africa region, chip migration projects are getting underway as all new ATMs and POS terminals are rendered chip and EMV compliant.
North America remains a black spot for MasterCard chip-based programmes. The company says a number of US-based members are committed to issuing multi-application smart cards later this year and early 2002.