Contactless cards take over the smart card world with dual interface solution leading the way

London - 14 November 2011 - The high degree of interconnection in the modern world drives the use of authentication technologies, which should not only be secure but also fast. Governments and other stake holders have increasingly adopted smart cards to manage a shift from security to convenience. As the lifetime and quality are crucial, the dual interface solution comes as the most convenient and reliable technology enabling end-users to interact through both contact and contactless interfaces.

Frost & Sullivan has published a white paper entitled "Are you looking for the world-class dual interface solution?" Jean-Noel Georges, Global Program Director Smart Cards Group, discusses benefits of dual interface cards, as well as challenges surrounding their manufacturing process.

"For years to come, shipments of contactless cards will primarily be of the 'dual interface' type," notes Jean-Noel Georges. "This is mainly because institutions and businesses are realising the advantages of secure and convenient 'contactless' card-based systems. Moreover, dual interface cards deliver better customer experience, and what is important, are less expensive than hybrid cards."

The adoption of contactless technology opens up new business opportunities for market players across the value chain and for smart card manufacturers and chip vendors in particular. However, there are various challenges attached to the production of dual interface cards.

The smart card is a strong authentication device, and it is inconceivable that it should malfunction due to technical or mechanical problems. For government applications, the standard expected lifetime is around 10 years. The dual interface solution should work for a minimum of 10 years to avoid potential renewal and costly issuance. This technology is clearly the best way to deliver reliable and easy to use smart cards for identification and authorising purposes.

For payment use, card lifetime is less important, as bank cards are reissued every 2 or 3 years. "However, a payment card will be used much more than a national ID card," explains Mr Georges. "Payment cards are carried in wallets, bags or pockets, therefore subject to physical and mechanical damage, and also to corrosion and extreme temperatures."

Using the card several times a day increases the risk of problems with the communication between the antenna and the chip. A lot of cards will be returned to the manufacturers due to lack of contactless features. This represents a huge cost to the card provider, a negative impact on the bank's image perception and a bad experience for the end-user.

To avoid any communication problem between the chip and the embedded antenna, Smart Packaging Solution (SPS) provides an answer to overpass the hurdle of physical and mechanical problems. The concept is not only linked to the communication side, but will also positively impact the complete manufacturing process. By employing SPS the card manufacturer would be able to reach a similar quality and production level as for contact chip cards.

"A new product introduction is a long and costly affair," summarises Mr Georges. "Dual interface introduction is also a complex process. Given the amazing growth of dual interface card deployment for identity management and payment, the time has come to exploit the resulting huge markets opportunities."

Download Frost & Sullivan white paper "Are you looking for the world-class dual interface solution?"