Versatile Card Technology (VCT), a world leader in card manufacturing, today announced that they have signed an agreement with Sony Corporation, making them the North American manufacturer for FeliCa contactless cards based on the ISO 18092 standard (NFC).
For VCT's part, the agreement represents a unique opportunity to expand its product line with a new -- but already proven technology. According to Rome Jetté, VCT's Vice President of Smart Cards, "FeliCa represents a major improvement in the flexibility, speed, and security of transactions with respect to the traditional ISO 14443 based card technologies now available in the US. With over 350 million FeliCa cards and cell phones already deployed in some of the most demanding applications, Sony has clearly proven that FeliCa technology is more than ready for the American market."
FeliCa contactless cards have quickly become the de facto standard in Asia's largest transit systems -- already having been extensively deployed in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and others. Also, as the new NFC standard gains acceptance, Sony has seen FeliCa making major inroads into the mobile phone market where it is being embedded into handsets to conduct financial transactions. According to Tim Lindner, director of strategic business development at Sony Electronics, this is just the beginning. "We are very thankful to the issuers and manufacturing partners who have helped make FeliCa successful in Asia. This expansion into the North American market owes much to the confidence and momentum they have given us."
Sony believes the best way to ensure the success of FeliCa is to accelerate collaboration with established suppliers capable of flexibly supplying FeliCa products that meet various demands. That means a key part of Sony's expansion plan was to first find the right US card manufacturer. As Jetté explained, "To ensure tight controls on quality and security, Sony had until now, only worked with several close partners in Japan, to manufacture FeliCa cards. The decision to work with VCT was based on the need to find an internationally recognized manufacturer that could quickly and economically respond to the needs of new FeliCa card issuers outside of Asia. Tim Lindner agreed by adding, "Security and quality are fundamental to the FeliCa brand. Selecting the right card manufacturer for North America was very important. With VCT, we believe we have found a partner who can carry on the tradition of providing FeliCa customers with the highest levels of service and value, without compromising on quality or security."