Last year produced remarkable gains in the area of contactless payment card shipments. According to the SPA (Smart Payment Assn.) annual review of the market, of all smart-payment cards shipped worldwide in 2013, more than one-third (37%) contained contactless technologies. Other growth trends include SPA’s card delivery total increasing two-fold since 2012 to 450 million; and its regional shipping rising 193% in Asia Pacific, 64% in Europe, and 45% in the Americas.

Consumer and retailer attraction to its convenience and opportunities brought on by contactless payment accounts is credited with this surge. Asia and Europe are responsible for the boom in dual interface cards, which utilize both chip and PIN (personal identification number), and contactless technologies.

The growth rate in those regions hit 115%, making the cards responsible for 94% of all contactless payments. China’s movement toward chip-based payments and the initiation of the EMV (Europay, MasterCard,, and Visa,, standard in India provided a major up-tick in the number of cards shipped last year. More than 1.5 billion cards moved in 2013, with 75% of that originating in the Asia Pacific region. A major rise of 37% in North America is being attributed to the launch of EMV in Canada and its migration into the United States.

Security measures for the cards also trended upward as use of DDA (dynamic data authentication) mechanisms rose more than 66%. That total reflects over half of all global card shipments, thanks in part to DDA and CDA (combined data authentication) schemes to “combat fraud and respond to the increasing adoption of contactless payments.” With the help of NFC (near-field communication), the SPA identifies EMV as “a truly established, global, secure, and operable infrastructure…that’s paving the way for today’s fast evolving connected world.”

According to Sylvie Gibert, president of the Smart Payment Assn., “The data from this report reveals a growing desire by consumers for the convenience and immediacy of contactless payment, and issuers are responding with innovative payment options, including those with transit features that put them ‘top of wallet’.”

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