Long waits and rummaging for small change to pay for coffee and a newspaper on the way to work? Potentially a thing of the past in Germany's metropolitan area Hanover, Braunschweig and Wolfsburg: There, the German Banking Industry Committee (Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft) today launches its "girogo" project: Europe's biggest contactless payment trial.
Over 1.3 million bank and savings bank customers will now be offered tap-and-go facilities in an array of shops and filling stations for fast and easy payment of sums up to 20 Euros. An integrated security chip from Infineon Technologies is the first in the world to hold German Banking Industry Committee's approval for the new contactless bank cards.
The girogo bank card is a so-called dual interface card: the customer can continue to use it for contact-based payment by inserting the card into a payment terminal. For contactless payment, the buyer no longer has to insert his card into a reader. He simply holds his card bearing a contactless chip in front of the reader at the check-out. No signature or PIN entry is required, meaning the payment process takes less than a second. By using the contactless-technology customers can pay small amounts of up to 20 EUR in a quick and convenient way.
"The new contactless bank cards incorporating girogo functionality offer customers added convenience and speed in paying small sums up to 20 Euros," says Dr. Andreas Martin, board member of the Federal Association of German Cooperative Banks (BVR). "The girogo project forms the basis for the further development of German payment systems."
In addition to contactless payments the girogo bank cards also support the well-established contact-based payment methods. German Banking Industry Committee security requirements are regarded as the world's most stringent standards and therefore Infineon's security controllers have met them for many years now.
"Infineon is the world's first chip manufacturer to meet both the high German Banking Industry Committee security guidelines and the contactless performance requirements of the new bank cards in Germany. This endorses our leading expertise in the fields of security and contactless communication," says Dr. Stefan Hofschen, President of the Chip Card & Security Division at Infineon Technologies AG.
The market shows a clear trend towards chip-based cards, which are almost completely superseding magnetic-stripe cards. Eurosmart puts the global number of chip-based payment cards - including contactless cards - to be shipped in 2012 at 1.2 billion, which represents year-on-year growth of 19 percent. A clear shift towards dual interface and contactless payment is evident. According to German Banking Industry Committee analysis, the introduction of the chip has been instrumental in reducing fraud levels. Data theft at cash dispensers is reported to have been 45 percent down in 2011 from the previous year.