Visa today announced that it is expanding the Visa Smart Breakthrough program to include a new contactless chip solution.
The program aims to improve the business case for chip technology worldwide by making cards, terminals and personalization solutions more cost effective to financial institutions, merchants and consumers.
The new contactless chip card was developed by a group of leading technology providers and card manufacturers. It provides an optimized and cost-efficient contactless payment solution that significantly enhances the business case for contactless payments for Visa member financial institutions.
Visa worked with INSIDE Contactless on the development of the chip and with Smartrac Technology Ltd. on antenna design and pre-lamination processes. CPI Card Group and Giesecke & Devrient GmbH contributed their unique expertise in card manufacturing.
Features of the new contactless card include a smaller than usual antenna that provides more flexibility for card embossing and design, and supports a variety of card shapes that allows issuers to differentiate their products in the marketplace. In addition, the enhanced card and chip performance boosts card-terminal read capabilities leading to a more consistent cardholder experience at the point of sale. Volume production for US financial institutions will begin in January 2006.
"This solution is well suited to the US market where there is a growing demand for cost-efficient contactless products," said Ayman Hammad, director, Product Development, Visa USA. "More financial institutions are seeing the benefits and market opportunities of contactless cards, and we are very pleased that INSIDE Contactless, Smartrac, CPI Card Group and Giesecke & Devrient have partnered with Visa to develop a contactless card that is cost-effective and delivers the speed and convenience merchants and consumers are looking for."
Greater choice in state-of-the-art card products means financial institutions who want to offer new payment programs can begin to do so quickly and efficiently. Jim Lee, senior vice president, Product Standards and Implementation, Visa International, said: "Visa has a long track record in developing innovative, cost-effective smart card products for its member financial institutions. Through the Visa Smart Breakthrough program, Visa has contributed its knowledge of the technical and business requirements of Visa members and their markets and worked with technology companies to create the most suitable products. This announcement is no exception."