About Smart Cards : Applications : Financial

Financial Applications

Secure Technology Alliance Financial Resources


Contactless Payments

Mobile Payments and NFC

Transit Payment


EMV Credit and Debit Payment

Financial institutions and merchants in Europe, Latin America, Asia/Pacific, Canada and the United States are issuing and accepting contact or dual-interface EMV smart cards for credit and debit payment or migrating to EMV.

According to EMVCo, over 7.0 billion EMV cards were in circulation at the end of 2017 and 63.7 percent of all card-present transactions undertaken globally used EMV chip technology.  As of the end of 2017, over 780 million EMV chip cards have been issued in the U.S., with 59% of U.S. merchant locations accepting EMV chip transactions accounting for 41.2 percent of card-present transactions.

EMVCo manages, maintains and enhances the EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications to ensure interoperability and acceptance of payment system integrated circuit cards on a worldwide basis. EMVCo, owned and managed by American Express, China UnionPay, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa, maintains and enhances the EMV specifications and associated approval procedures, to ensure global interoperability of chip-based payment cards with acceptance devices including point of sale terminals and ATMs. EMVCo also develops and manages new functionality required by the market (e.g., contactless, mobile, tokenization and 3D Secure).

The Secure Technology Alliance Payments Council and its affiliated organization, the U.S. Payments Forum, have active programs to provide educational resources on EMV and to address issues that require broad cooperation and coordination across many constituents in the payments space in order to successfully introduce secure EMV contact and contactless technology in the U.S.

The Alliance has published a variety of resources to assist payments industry stakeholders with EMV migration; resources are available on the EMV Connection web site.

The following resources provide additional information on EMV and EMV migration.

Contactless Credit and Debit Payment in the United States

Contactless payments are simply payment transactions that require no physical contact between the consumer payment device and the physical point-of-sale (POS) terminal. In a contactless payment transaction, the consumer holds a contactless card, wearable or Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled mobile device in close proximity (less than 2-4 inches) to the merchant POS terminal and the payment account information is communicated wirelessly (via radio frequency (RF)).

Contactless chip cards were first issued in the U.S. in 2004. Contactless payments using NFC-enabled mobile devices started with Google Wallet in 2011, followed by Softcard in 2012. The U.S. launch of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay in 2014 and 2015 reignited interest in contactless payments with NFC-enabled mobile devices. Both contactless chip cards and NFC-enabled mobile devices use ISO/IEC 14443-based technology, ensuring payment solution compatibility regardless of brand or payment device when used with contactless readers that have been approved by the payment networks.

Research shows that consumers, issuers and merchants benefit from the use of contactless payments. Consumers enjoy added convenience, speed and ease of use, while issuers and merchants enjoy faster transaction times, increased spending per transaction, lower operational costs and penetration into the cash payment market.

Additional information about contactless payments can be found on the Secure Technology Alliance Contactless Payments Resources page.

Up-to-date information about NFC-enabled mobile contactless payment can be found on the Secure Technology Alliance NFC Resources page.

Contactless Payment with NFC-Enabled Mobile Devices

Mobile phone users are already familiar with using their phones to pay for products such as games, ring tones and other digital content. Mobile phones and other mobile devices are also being used to pay for products at a physical point of sale (POS), due to the increasing availability of new, more capable mobile devices and new payment technologies that make such transactions possible.

While various mobile payment models have been piloted, the financial industry launch of contactless credit and debit cards based on the ISO/IEC 14443 standard and the emergence of ISO/IEC 18092 (Near Field Communication (NFC)) that is compatible with ISO/IEC 14443 have provided opportunities for the mobile telecommunications industry to incorporate NFC technology in handsets and enable mobile contactless payments at existing merchants who accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa contactless credit and debit cards.

Up-to-date information about NFC-enabled mobile contactless payment can be found on the Secure Technology Alliance NFC Resources page.

Additional information about NFC can be found at the NFC Forum web site.

Electronic Purse

Smart cards are used for electronic purse payment applications. In this application, the smart card carries a stored monetary value. Cardholders generally use these cards to replace cash in making frequent, low-value transactions. Electronic purses are used for both retail payment and transit fare payment. A few electronic purse implementations are listed below.

Payments Industry Resources