From the healthcare industry to banking to transportation, smart cards are attaining a new level of ubiquity thanks to their versatility and ease of use. Smart cards may have made their presence felt in developed markets of the West during their early days, but they’ve now become widely accepted in developing regions as well. The global smart cards market was valued at US$6.6 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow steadily to stand at US$11.9 billion by the end of 2020, says Transparency Market Research. As a result of this, the global smart cards market will log a CAGR of 9.0% between 2014 and 2020.
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While there’s no denying that smart cards have made transactions rapid and convenient, they’ve also brought along a peculiar problem – consumers are finding it difficult to manage the ever-expanding stack of smart cards.
But there’s a solution to this problem on the market already: All-in-one smart cards. These cards integrate the functions of all the smart cards that a consumer typically uses. The all-in-one smart card, say experts, is the next big trend thanks to its promising attribute of consolidating consumers’ wallets. Interestingly, it’s not just established companies such as MasterCard that have jumped into the fray. Startups such as Coin are also hoping to gain a first-mover advantage even as the all-in-one smart card finds its footing.
Here’s a lowdown on a few companies in the all-in-one smart card market, and their product offerings:
- Stratos: The Stratos Card works at all locations where a conventional card is used – right from ATMs to parking meters to stores, says the company. It integrates a wide range of cards such as credit and debit cards, membership or loyalty cards, and even gift cards. The card features the ‘Dual Strip’ technology and high-level encryption. According to media reports, Stratos began shipping its smart cards in April 2015.
- Plastc: The basic idea of the Plastc card is similar to that of Stratos’. But the smart card technology of the former is slightly different in that it is based on both magnetic stripe and chip. According to the company’s website, their card comes with a barcode display, a magnetic stripe, as well as MasterCard EMV support. It can be used across a variety of payment networks, including contactless payments. It is fitted with a gamut of security features such as proximity alerts, remote wipe, and photo identification.
- Coin: When the company began shipping its all-in-one smart card in April 2015, it was one of the first ones to do so. The company describes its all-in-one smart card as a “secure, connected device” that helps make its customers’ wallets lighter. Like its other competitors, Coin consolidates in a single place different loyalty cards, debit cards, credit cards, and so on.
In addition to the three companies discussed above, the all-in-one smart cards market also features players such as Swyp and Wocket that are vying to gain a fair share of this yet-unexplored market. While the services offered by these companies are high on the security and convenience quotient, the high cost of a consolidated wallet could prompt consumers to think twice before investing in one.