Plastic cards have become the global standard for electronically purchasing goods and services. In the last 20 years less secure magnetic stripe and embossed numbering systems have been replaced by a secure electronic system of data and keys held on the card’s embedded chip. This standard was established and has been championed by EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa). These secure cards can be issued locally, for example in branch at the point of account opening, using desktop card printers fitted with the appropriate EMV encoding devices.
For convenience, efficiency and speed, many transport smart ticketing solutions now also have a payment application loaded on the chip of the smart card. This enables passes to be used for low value contactless payments at transport hubs for items such as food, beverages and newspapers.
Cards as a token of membership of a club, association or loyalty scheme are common place. Introducing a smart card element to these can open up a range of other applications including access to services, payment in members-only facilities such as restaurants, bars or vending machines, and the online booking of club resources. Loyalty cards, pioneered by large supermarket groups and gas stations are now adopted by many smaller retail outlets, often using desktop ID card printers to instantly issue personalised cards to customers.
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