Take Charge of Plastic Products
Credit-card processing software is arguably more applicable in this country than Smart Cards.
Although it has been reported that experts predict smart cards will be a billion-dollar industry in just five years, many insiders believe that smart-card technology will never catch on in the United States as well as it has in Europe and Asia.
Smart cards differentiate themselves from other plastic cards with magnetic stripes by containing an embedded silicon computer chip that stores and processes values specific to each individual user.
While an innovative idea in other parts of the world, this product doesn't quite meet the high-tech procedures already in place here in the states. "Internationally, smart cards are huge," said Chris Henson, account manager for Plastic Printing Innovations in San Diego, Calif. "Here in the United States, they are not as necessary mainly because our computer networks and telecommunication set-up is far more advanced than most countries. Therefore, we really don't need to have the card doing the computations. All we need is a code integrated in a magnetic stripe to activate the information and process it."
In addition, smart cards are both costly and time-consuming for manufacturers. "They are very expensive to make and are extremely difficult to produce," noted Henson. "It's just a matter of finding a use for them and I don't think they will ever be big here."
And, according to Chester Ritchie, vice president of marketing for CAM Commerce Solutions in Fountain Valley, Calif., there isn't as much of an application for smart cards here as there is in Europe. "The smart cards are applicable to the currency conversions that occur throughout Europe," said Ritchie. "However, I haven't seen anything comparable here."
In fact, CAM Commerce Solutions created its own software that supersedes the need for a card with an embedded chip. "Our X-Charge software keeps all those stored values within the application itself," he said.