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Live from Cartes: Close to one billion contactless smartcards to be shipped in 2013

Eurosmart, the voice of the Smart Security Industry, has released its forecasts for the worldwide shipments of microcontroller-based Smart Secure Devices and contactless smartcards in 2013 and 2014.

With an estimate of 7.2 billion Smart Secure Devices to be shipped in 2013, growing by 7% to over 7.7 billion units to be shipped in 2014, the worldwide continued demand for high-end technological solutions combining convenience and security is strong.

For Eurosmart’s Chairman, Oyvind Rastad, this trend is clearly visible in the advancement of contactless technologies like Near Field Communication (NFC) and dual interface cards: “Contactless payment cards have been in particular strong demand this year, thanks to the convenient and secure user experience they enable,” comments Oyvind Rastad.

Every third payment card that will be shipped in 2013 is expected to be a dual interface card. They combine contact and contactless technology and are used for example both for payment at a contactless terminal and for the usual withdrawal of cash at an ATM.

A growing proportion of electronic ID cards, like the electronic driving licence or electronic passports, also include contactless functionalities, e.g. for easy and automated border gate control. According to the Eurosmart forecast for 2013, every second secure eDocument in the Government segment is contactless.

Transit cards, like the London Oyster Card or similar cards used in public transport, are all contactless, as are many physical and logical access cards like company access badges. In total, this accounts for a market of 930 million contactless cards estimated to be shipped in 2013, an increase of 41% over 2012. And this is without counting the more than 250 million units of NFC secure elements to be shipped in 2013.


According to Rastad, “Our society faces the growing challenge of enjoying the benefits of being increasingly interconnected while, at the same time, being able to safeguard privacy and trust. Eurosmart and its members are at the forefront of innovation and will continue promoting smart security solutions that improve the usability of digital services while protecting privacy and combating fraud. Our solutions are simple to understand, easy to use and inherently secure.”


A graph showing Contactless Smart Secure Device Shipments Estimates

Contactless Smart Secure Device Shipments Estimates


  • Government regulations have strongly impacted SIM shipments in India in 2013
  • Migration to next-generation Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICCs) is being driven by deployment of 4G, and there will be more than 260 commercial LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks in 93 countries by the end of the year according to 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)
  • Rapid ramp-up of NFC deployment expected to continue with significant volumes of NFC SIMs
  • M2M technology opens the door to a wide range of promising new market applications (automotive, smart metering and consumer electronic devices)


  • Migration of payment cards from magnetic stripe cards to EMV standard (chip cards) continues to drive growth in all parts of the world, including in the US where the conversion has just begun
  • Continued strong growth of dual interface devices (combining both contact and contactless technology); more than one in every three payment cards shipped in 2013 is a dual interface card
  • The benefit of the chip is expanding more and more to debit and ATM cards in addition to credit cards

Government ID and Healthcare

  • Steady growth in National eID programs, with large reference countries already rolled-out and new programs to be implemented (e.g. Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and Turkey)
  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard for electronic machine readable travel documents is now used worldwide in four kinds of documents: passports, residence permits, national eID with travel function and registered traveller programs. The ICAO standard increases the volumes of contactless projects
  • More than ten EU member states will implement electronic driving licenses to comply with Directive 2012/36/EU. First countries to roll out in 2013 are Croatia, France and Ireland.
  • New countries are starting to adopt eVRC (vehicle registration card), especially in Europe with the application of Directive 2003/127/EC

Near Field Communication (NFC)

  • Following expected shipments of more than 250 million units in 2013, Eurosmart forecasts more than 400 million NFC secure elements to be shipped in 2014.  NFC secure elements include NFC enabled UICCs and embedded secure elements and other form factors of NFC enabled secure elements
  • The NFC ecosystem is maturing; currently mobiles with NFC are available from almost all global handset manufactures and deployment of  contactless POS (point-of-sale) terminals is ongoing
  • MNOs, banks, merchants and transport authorities offer secure NFC services
  • NFC is enabling many use cases in addition to payment in combination with location-based services and loyalty
  • Worldwide Smart Secure Device shipment – 2013 and 2014 forecasts (Millions of units)

Source: Eurosmart, November 2013

*Others include Transport, PayTV and physical and logical access cards.

For more information on contactless smartcards, please visit

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