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2020 Smart Payment Card and Module Shipment Figures by its Members and Advisory Council Members released by Smart Payment Association

market monitoring

• 2.5 billion smart payments cards and modules(1) were delivered worldwide in 2020 by its Members and Advisory Council Members(2)
• Contactless now represent 69% of all shipments
• 31 million next-generation eco-friendly smart payment cards delivered globally


Munich, 18th May 2021 – Latest figures from the Smart Payment Association (SPA) highlight the resilience of the payment industry sector in 2020, despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Collated annually by the SPA, using data from SPA Members and Market Monitoring Advisory Council Members , analysis of the annual volume of smart payment card and module shipments reveals a total of 2.5 billion units were shipped in 2020. This was achieved despite an observed decrease in demand from China, India, and Latin American countries, all of which endured extended national lockdowns in response to COVID-19.


COVID-19 heightens demand for contactless payment


As the global pandemic escalated in early 2020, customers around the globe took action to avoid the risk of transmission at POS and switched instead to using contact-free payment options.


Schemes’ mandates to increase the no-PIN limit for contactless card payments, at the height of the pandemic, helped to further catalyze demand for dual interface cards offering contactless payment capabilities. In 2020, SPA reports 69% of all shipments had contactless functionality, up 10% points on 2019 figures.


Last year’s mass shift to contactless payments means that every country in the world now issues dual interface cards – including Mexico, Indonesia, and India, which historically have been slow to adopt contactless payment card features.


In 2020, consumers around the globe embraced the ease and hygienic benefits of tap-and-go payments in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and indications are these new contactless payment behaviors are set for the long-term,” said Jacques Doucerain, President Smart Payment Association.


The roll-out of eco-friendly payment cards accelerates

Issuing banks around the globe are responding to consumer demands for smart payment cards made of more sustainable materials such as recycled PVC, bio-sourced plastic substitutes and reclaimed ocean plastic.

With 91% of consumers saying they would opt for an eco-friendly card in preference to a regular card(3), in 2020 banks around the globe began their regional roll-outs of new sustainable cards, which feature a signature eco logo.


In 2020, SPA reports its members participating in the Market Monitoring process shipped 31 million eco-friendly cards(4) for worldwide deployment, with issuers in the US and Europe leading the race to transition away from first-use PVC as a payment-card material.


Environmentally conscious consumers are driving banks to migrate to new eco-friendly cards that will save thousands of tonnes of CO2 every year and reduce the global consumption of plastic,” confirmed Jacques Doucerain, President Smart Payment Association.

Our members predict this is the start of a major evolution for the sector, and that eco-friendly card adoption will grow rapidly and strongly over the coming years. It’s a significant move that heralds a brighter, greener future for the planet.


A full breakdown and analysis of all results is available for sale to non-members.


As part of its extensive market monitoring activities, the SPA has established two Advisory Councils to enable non-SPA members to access the most up-to-date marketplace data available. The SPA Monitoring Advisory Council is open to EMV technology vendors supplying cards and/or modules, while the SPA Forecasting Advisory Council is open to organizations operating in the wider payment ecosystem. For more details, click here.




(1) The module consists of the encapsulated smart card chip, attached and electrically bonded to the micro-connector or contact plate. The module is embedded in the payment card body during card manufacturing.

(2) The following companies participate in the monitoring process: G+D, Idemia, Thales, CPI, NXP, STMicroelectronics

(3) Data Source: Global study by “Data 2 Decision”, 2020 ; Sustainable Materials for Payment Cards by ABI Research, Q4 2020

(4) Payment card bodies contain sustainable materials including R-PETG, Recycled PVC, Ocean Bound Plastic, Bio-sourced whatever the % of the total body.




About the Smart Payment Association (SPA)

The Smart Payment Association (SPA) is the trade body of the cards and mobile payments industry. SPA addresses the challenges of a fast-evolving payment ecosystem, promoting innovation, security and interoperability of payment instruments. SPA works closely with regulators and standardization bodies, offering leadership and expert guidance to help its members and their customers adopt new payment technologies of today and tomorrow.

For more information on the SPA, visit our website:

Press contact: Stéphanie de Labriolle
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NB: For the purpose of this process, a payment smart card defines any microprocessor smart card and smart card module used for payment purposes, regardless of the underlying specification (EMV, other), interface technology (contact, contactless), and usage (credit, debit, pre-paid, branded payment, private payment, etc.).

In the case of multi-application cards, where Payment is not the main function, cards are declared only if the Payment function uses a chip and the Payment function is credit or debit. Please note that for example Transport cards with an e-purse are not included.

The process excludes personalization of payment smart cards as well as operating system licenses for payment smart cards.

In order to avoid double counting certain payment smart cards, the SPA Members and Advisory Council Members do not include in their volume sale figures the payment smart cards or payment modules they have sold to other companies involved in the reporting process.

Chip suppliers participating in the process report cards or modules they sell with operating system already loaded (supporting EMV or debit/credit payment application). The others categories of sales (chips / wafers and modules they sell where the operating system is loaded by the final customer) are excluded from the shipments report as well as all cards/modules sold to SPA members.