About the Alliance : Overview

About the Smart Card Alliance

The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to stimulate the understanding, adoption, use and widespread application of smart card technology. The Alliance invests heavily in education on the appropriate uses of technology for identification, payment and other applications and strongly advocates the use of smart card technology in a way that protects privacy and enhances data security and integrity. Through specific projects such as education programs, market research, advocacy, industry relations and open forums, the Alliance keeps its members connected to industry leaders and innovative thought. The Alliance is the single industry voice for smart card technology, leading industry discussion on the impact and value of smart cards in the U.S. and Latin America.

Smart Card Alliance Members

The Alliance is comprised of over 200 members worldwide, including participants from financial, government, enterprise, transportation, mobile telecommunications, healthcare, and retail industries. A mix of issuers and adopters of smart card technology work in concert with leading industry suppliers of the full range of products and services supporting the implementation of smart-card based systems for secure payments, identification, access, and mobile communications.

Smart Card Alliance Priorities

The four main priorities of the Alliance are:

Smart Card Alliance Activities

Smart Cards Defined

Defined at the highest level, a smart card is a device (e.g., a plastic card) that includes an embedded integrated circuit (IC) chip. The smart card connects to a reader with direct physical contact or with a remote contactless RF interface. With an embedded microcontroller, smart cards have the unique ability to store large amounts of data (e.g. biometrics), carry out their own on-card functions (e.g., encryption and digital signatures) and interact intelligently with a smart card reader. Smart card technology encompasses many different shapes, features, and functions beyond a typical card implementation and can be embedded in computers, mobile devices, and tokens.

According to Eurosmart, over 6.1 billion smart cards were shipped worldwide in 2011, with smart card shipments forecast to grow 13% to 6.9 billion in 2012. Smart cards are currently used worldwide for many applications, including healthcare, financial, transit, telecommunications, and secure identification. Examples of current uses most common in the United States include:

Smart Card Benefits–Security and Privacy

The Smart Card Alliance advocates the use of smart card technology to protect privacy and enhance data security and integrity. Applications that use smart cards take advantage of the technology’s ability to provide secure, portable storage of data; enable authenticated access to information (either on the card or within the application system); and support secure transactions between the card and the network.