US smart cards to top 21m

US smart cards to top 21m

More than 21 million smart payment cards will be in circulation in the US by the first quarter of 2003, according to a white paper by the Smart Card Alliance.

But the pace at which smart card-ready point-of-sale (POS) devices are being installed is slower. This is despite several large US retailers having invested in smart card-ready POS hardware, according to the report 'Smart Cards and the Retail Payments Infrastructure'.

The report says business support for smart cards is sluggish because of the reluctance by firms to replace existing payment structures. Growth will be driven by technology, new smart card markets and applications that benefit both merchants and consumers.

Randy Vanderhoof, executive director, Smart Card Alliance, says that there have been important infrastructure developments over the past year. "These include the 300,000 smart card-ready payment terminals shipped in 2001, deployment of infrastructure at leading retail chains plus the advance of significant new smart card programs from Target, Citibank and others."

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