The payment card market has seen a range of next-generation offerings land successfully over the years, addressing the need for increased security or complying with increased regulation around sustainability and ESG goals. Now, LED payment cards could be next in line to help secure and increase the convenience of making a payment.
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SECORA Pay and Infineon Seek to Illuminate the LED Payment Card Market
November 2023 saw the announcement that SECORA Pay and Infineon had joined forces to launch a payment card with embedded Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Supported by next-generation payment card technologies, the ease of use of tap and pay is seeing strong adoption in all regions and growing contactless adoption in emerging economies. This increased movement in contactless adoption in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increased attention being paid to next-generation payment card materials and technologies, such as metal, sustainable, biometric, and dynamic Card Verification Value (CVV) payment cards. These innovative revolutions in the payment card market have been supported by more niche developments, which LED payment cards are a part of, and enable functionality beyond payments.
The SECORA Pay security solution reinforces this market movement and bolsters card inlays with embedded LEDs. The product family, also certified by Mastercard and Visa, opens the possibility for financial institutions to design attractive and stylish payment cards for issuance to their customers. The embedded LEDs will provide a visible response at the point a payment transaction is made with a point-of-sale (POS) terminal.
How Does the Solution Work and How is it Positioned?
In today’s world, the customers of financial institutions have increasingly high demands as it relates to the security and convenience of the payment solutions they use. The objective of the SECORA Pay LED card is to address system-level innovations in a seamlessly integrated and scalable manner for the payment card ecosystem, with the inclusion of plug-and-play LED inlays to light up the card at the point of transaction. Not only does this increase the interactivity between the user and their payment card, providing visual feedback to confirm a successful or unsuccessful transaction, but also increases brand recognition and the quality of experience for the customer.
Mechanically, the SECORA Pay LED card leverages a Coil-on-Module (CoM) chip module, inclusive of security controllers with certified software integrated within the solution. Standardized inlays enable a seamless card production and manufacturing process to remove friction upon the point of adoption and, additionally, the SECORA Pay solution provides fast contactless transaction speeds so as not to compromise on the users experience and enables design options of the card by enabling the card manufacturer to position LEDs in a defined area. This personalization stage can be further enhanced with a variety of color options through the use of printing foil to reinforce messaging behind brand recognition.
In terms of the LED solution itself, the power for the lighting aspect originates from power-harvesting of the POS terminal, which removes the need for a built-in battery, which ABI Research believes has proven to be a key inhibitor in the adoption of next-generation payment card technologies. The solution from SECORA Pay has been positioned well, being able to integrate into a payment card manufacturers portfolio with minimal changes and easily installing into EMVCo compliant dual interface cards, with a rapid certification process enabling an expedited time-to-market.
The LED Payment Card Market Ecosystem
Of course, the SECORA Pay solution is not the only LED payment card solution in the market. While not yet achieving the issuance volumes of the metal or biometric payment card, the LED card is an excellent way to include an attractive and differentiated feature into an already premium card to increase its prestige.
- Thales offers the Thales Gemalto LED Card, a high-end, all-in-one solution that adds value to a payment card issuers portfolio while increasing the strength of brand image. The solution supports the magnetic stripe and EMV contactless chip for payment, with an LED to verify a successful transaction.
- IDEMIA offers the IDEMIA LED Card for both the credit card and debit/prepaid card market. This EMV payment card offering is similar to the SECORA Pay solution, as it is battery-less and harvests energy from the POS Near-Field Communication (NFC) field to power the LEDs integrated in the card body. However, IDEMIA have differentiated by offering a range of LED coloring with red, green, and blue as options for customization to light up a design or logo. It is positioned towards tech-savvy cardholders that perceive the inclusion of LEDs within a payment card as a payment accessory to match their lifestyle and values, similar to the prestige effect of a full metal payment card.
- As it relates to metal payment cards, CompoSecure announced in January 2023 that a pilot was underway for their metal payment card and LED combined solution. CompoSecure has targeted the premium payment card market, augmenting their luxury metal payment card range with an option for light inclusion, embedded with electronic features to illuminate at the point of transaction.
It is clear in the payment card market of today that there is a rising demand for cards to be more and more differentiated and customizable, to enable issuers to stamp their brand and separate themselves from the competition. While LED in and of itself has not established itself as a standalone solution, it is in a prime position to augment alternative next-generation card materials and technologies (including biometric and metal payment cards) to provide a truly differentiated and compelling payment card solution.