get('text_top_button', JText::_('DEFAULT_GOTO_TOP_TEXT'))*/?>
get('text_bottom_button', JText::_('DEFAULT_GOTO_BOTTOM'))*/?>

Offline authentication - Contactless - RSA and Elliptic Curves Cryptography - Biometric Card - Wearables - SPA New Year 2021 Message

alain martin spa board member

 For many of us 2021 has begun where 2020 left off: in lockdown. While I’m sure we are all keen to return to some form of business as usual, safety must remain the priority. I have full confidence that the payments industry will continue to do what it can to respond in these challenging times. 

Over the past 12 months I have found it interesting to note how the perception (if not the use) of our solutions has changed. 

Contactless payment is the most striking example. Originally designed to speed transactions and offer more convenience for users, tap and go is now widely considered to be the safest way to pay for goods and services in-store. Moreover, those designed-for benefits of tackling queues by speeding the transaction are perhaps even more relevant today. 

Getting people into and out of stores as quickly as possible is hugely important, of course. But one area where it is critical is in the public transportation sector. Passenger flow in any busy transport hub or at the gate in any mass transit system is an operational, commercial and health & safety imperative today. 

SPA has been exploring this issue with particular reference to discussions around the continued relevance of contactless payment and offline data authentication. You can take a look at the Insight Paper here.

Of course, the contactless discussion goes much wider than the conventional card form factor.  Right now, we’re seeing a lot of innovation in wearable payment – for transportation and a range of other use cases. After a relatively slow start, the market is now evolving quickly, with analysts predicting a market value in excess of $1.37 trillion by 2027 (1) . Much of this growth is indeed targeted at providing business and consumers with speed and safety – both in terms of enabling touchless payment and in providing an effective alternative to handing over cash.

Look out for a detailed SPA paper on this topic coming soon. 

Finally, we have also seen the development of fingerprint on-card technology which does much to boost the virus protection effort – eliminating the need to touch the PIN pad. It also extends touchless payment use by adding strong customer authentication to remove the need for payment caps. Again, while not designed with a pandemic in mind, biometric on-card technology has a role to play in our response. We foresee steady adoption and deployment of this technology in 2021.

In conclusion, with the kind of uncertainty and challenges facing the world in 2021, I believe it is so important that the payment technologies and solutions we develop today can be (as much as possible) adapted to multiple use cases to the expected and unexpected needs of tomorrow. 2020 has certainly shown the value of touchless technologies, and I have no doubt that we’ll increasingly see innovations and ideas in this area in the coming year. 

One good example is the next phase of the European Payments Initiative (EPI), and the commitment to leverage contactless cards and mobile payment to deploy instant payments. The prospect of offering a card for consumers across Europe, a digital wallet and P2P payments all offer exciting (and touchless) opportunities.   

And with that, I would like to wish you all a safe and successful New Year. 

Yours sincerely, 


Alain Martin

President Smart Payment Association

(1) Wearable Payments Market Outlook – 2027 – Allied Market Research, July 2020