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Contactless smart cards to be big business by 2012?

Contactless smart cards are expected to boom in the Asia-Pacific region as soon as 2012 once key implementation projects are fully operational according to new research.

Credit Card AustraliaFrost & Sullivan research analyst Reuben Foong expects growth in unit shipments to peak from 2012 to 2016 at rates between 20 and 25 percent year-on-year. By the end of 2016, an estimated 1.9 billion contactless smart cards will be shipped in the Asia-Pacific region, up from 590 million last year.

According to Foong, demand for contactless cards will be driven mainly by NFC (Near Field Communication), e-Passport and mass transit projects being implemented around the globe and across Asia-Pacific.

“The world is already prepared to roll-out NFC commercial projects with a  small number of commercial projects having already begun and more than 200 pilot projects already completed across the globe,” he says. “In Asia-Pacific, we can expect large-scale mobile NFC deployments in the next one to two years.”

He adds that NFC on mobile devices will also prompt renewed interest in contactless bank credit and debit cards, with security issues having been ironed out.

One of the earliest applications of smart card technology was transportation such as mass transit services, which has, arguably, been the platform on which new form factors were introduced and espoused, motivated by user convenience. Mass transit ticketing is the second biggest application for contactless cards – 28 percent of contactless card shipment in 2009 – after government ID, and Foong believes uptake will continue with the rise of mass transit projects across Asia-Pacific.

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Paul Hayman

Paul Hayman

Paul is a staff writer for Dynamic Business online.

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