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Eco-Friendly Cards - Instant Payment Card - European Chips Act - Post-Quantum Cryptography - eIDAS Digital Wallets - SPA Spring 2022 Newsletter

Dear Colleagues,


It is my honour and privilege to be taking up the role of President of the SPA. Last year, Jacques Doucerain steered our organisation through the ongoing market challenges resulting from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. I am sure you will all join me in thanking him for his dedicated hard work over the past 12 months.


In this newsletter we share news of our most recent activities and review how SPA and its members have once again played an important role in shaping the rapidly evolving payments ecosystem.

Sustainable Payment Cards


Rising consumer awareness about environmental issues, together with regulatory initiatives around the globe, means that sustainability is becoming a strategic topic for all major financial institutions and card issuers. SPA and its members are pushing at the boundaries of industry innovation for every aspect of the payment card lifecycle – from issuance to end-of-life and card recycling.


In January, SPA published the first of a series of planned publications on sustainable payment cards. Providing a detailed review of industry solutions and best practices for building a sustainable card issuance strategy, the Eco Friendly Payment Cards: Putting Sustainability at the Heart of Payment paper evaluates eco-innovative materials and production techniques and contains guidance on why issuers need to also consider the wider supply chain logistics involved.


To further propel the industry’s joint response to the mission-critical sustainability issue, SPA is establishing a new Card Recycling Working Group that will be responsible for the definition and implementation of collective recycling solutions that deliver significant economies of scale for issuers seeking to manage end-of-life payment card programs in a secure, sustainable, and compliant manner. Key focus activities for the new Working Group include card recycling, card collection, the transformation of recycled materials for new usage, and the standardization of card material labelling.


Regulation Update


Last year, SPA highlighted how the ongoing global silicon chip shortage represented a growing threat to maintaining the availability of payment cards[1] upon which millions of consumers and businesses around the world depend to conduct their everyday lives.



SPA welcomes the recent announcement that the European Commission’s new European Chips Act[2] identifies the provisioning of silicon chips to produce payment cards as being of the highest priority. SPA anticipates that this new legislation will require semiconductor foundries based in EU jurisdictions to give the card industry precedence when administering their production allocations. A move it is hoped that will go some way to helping our industry initiate a more resilient European supply chain.


Payment Services Market Expert Group (PSMEG)


As a participant in the DG-FISMA Payment Services Market Expert Group (PSMEG), SPA recently proposed an improvement to the initiation of an instant SEPA Credit Transfer (SCTInst) at the point of sale. The proposal leverages smart cards or digitised cards in a mobile phone and makes use of the EMV capability to strongly authenticate the customer with the same frictionless experience that is known to all today. For example, in this model, there is no need for the user to manipulate a mobile phone to authenticate in a mobile banking app.


To further support this approach, the SPA contributed last year to a change request submitted to The Berlin Group in order for their Open Banking API to support this EMV based authentication, amongst other authentication methods.


More information about the SPA Instant Payment Card initiative can be found here.


European Cards Stakeholder Group (ECSG)


SPA continues to promote initiatives within the ECSG that will help drive further innovation in card payment systems. Recently, we instigated discussions on the use of eIDAS digital wallets for payment use cases and we continue to monitor new developments in quantum computing and post quantum cryptographic algorithms. Before the summer, SPA will be releasing a position paper on the threat quantum computing poses to card payment systems, together with recommendations on how to counter these threats through the use of stronger cryptography.


SPA remains committed to the pursuit of actions within the ECSG that will defend the extension of its scope to include instant payments and other retail payment instruments. It is our belief that a single European organisation should be responsible for managing the co-existence of all electronic payment instruments – cards, mobile, instant payments and cryptocurrencies – and we are convinced that the ECSG is the ideal organisation for this task. Indeed, we believe the work of the ECSG will prove vital for ensuring there is no discrimination between any payment instrument and that standards are implemented in a way that give consumers and retailers real choice in which instrument they use.


SPA will continue to champion the rights of retailers and consumers who need to be certain they can rely on secure payment instruments, whatever the use case.


Looking Ahead – Upcoming Event


SPA, with the support of its members, continues to advocate how and why the card technology and form factor remain critically relevant in an era where Instant Payments and Crypto Currencies are set to flourish. Providing the vital anchor that is capable of securing assets and payments in a variety of mediums and channels.


SPA’s Technical Director, Lorenzo Gaston, will be on stage at the ID & KYC Forum which will be held on June 7- 9, 2022, in Lille Grand Palais, in parallel with the 3 days of the International Cybersecurity Forum, to discuss the relationship between payments, identity and data via secure onboarding, authentication and the use of APIs.


I look forward to leading the 2022 – 2023’s SPA chapter with you!


Yours sincerely


Andreas Strobel – President SPA



[1] For instance in the Euro area about 50% of non-cash-based payments are made with cards according to ECB figures published in September 2021: Payments statistics: 2020 (
European Chips Act: Communication, Regulation, Joint Undertaking and Recommendation | Shaping Europe’s digital future (