The market for smart card materials is expected to see tremendous potential in the coming years with the influx of various chip-based technologies given the increasing requirement to curb security risks across the financial and banking sectors.
The expansion of the retail, BFSI, and hospitality industries has also stirred the need for easy and quick operations along with cashless payments; which stands to be an ideal factor supporting the demand spurt for contactless smart cards.
Smart cards are witnessing higher demand in current times in the form of payment cards such as debit and credit cards, as well as electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards which are used in the allotment of government benefits. They are configured for access control across government & educational institutions and are employed for patient identification and detailing in hospitals.
Smart card materials, like polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and polycarbonate, among various others are mainly incorporated in the manufacturing of these cards, as they possess application-specific performance attributes. They are extensively used to resist impact, UV rays, and chemical substances for the longer shelf life of the cards.
Looking at these factors, it would be safe to declare that the global smart card materials market size could be worth a substantial remuneration by 2027.
PVC and ABS as major materials
The demand for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) smart card materials is anticipated to rise substantially as they can be regarded as the commonly used components in the card bodies. On account of lower prices, they are preferred in both contact and contactless cards. However, these materials offer depleting resistance to heat, UV, and bending stress, which results in the lost quality finish over time. They are also believed to exhibit a shorter life expectancy in comparison to other materials with the gradual peeling of the lamination and finishing layers.
Meanwhile, the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) smart card materials will also see significant penetration on account of their higher resistance to heat and chemicals. As these materials possess optimum print quality-making attributes, they are suitable for graphics-heavy card applications like branded access cards and ID cards used in universities and high-end organizations.
The smart card materials market is currently being fueled by the prominence of the latest trends and developments made by the industry conglomerates. Given below is a gist of the trends that would potentially augment the smart card materials market strata in the years to come:
Growing preference for contactless cards
Contactless smart card materials are pegged to see a higher preference in the coming years. This is due to the extensive usage of these cards in securely managing, storing, and providing access to data while performing other on-card functions. Various international standards have been introduced to comply to contactless smart card technology and applications. Furthermore, contactless smart card materials are largely used in plastic cards, key fobs, watches, documents, and handheld devices.
Strong uses in retail and telecommunication
The application of smart card materials in the retail sector will gain prominence with the increasing need to store customer information, such as account data. This is because the transaction details fit in as a credit card while online good purchases are made. More to this, several retailers are also leveraging the advantages of smart cards to store points for specific customers as well as render necessary incentives to recurring clients.
Likewise, what makes smart card materials popular in telecommunication applications is their extensive role in the development of SIM or Subscriber Identity Module cards.
Developments by the ‘who’s who of the industry
Numerous innovations by leading industry participants as well as inorganic strategies, such as acquisitions, mergers, and partnerships are playing an important role in the development of smart card materials.
Apart from this, the firms are focused on extending their global presence across the world while catering to the increasing product demand, even in this stretching COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, in March 2021, IDEMIA, partnered with BBVA to roll out its first-ever payment card made of recycled PVC in Spain.