China’s largest bank is sticking with Gemalto for its payment cards, with the latter announcing that ICBC has awarded it a three-year contract. The agreement concerns major card brands including Amex, China UnionPay, JCB, Mastercard, and Visa.
In a statement announcing the agreement, Gemalto highlighted the popularity of payment cards in China, noting that almost three quarters of respondents in a recent survey of Chinese consumers said they could live for a month with less than $15 in cash. Gemalto also suggested that thanks to government-led efforts to upgrade Point of Sale terminals in the country, contactless payment methods are “set to grow.”
Gemalto’s card solutions for ICBC are dual interface, allowing them to function both with contactless readers and contact-based terminals.
Left unsaid in Gemalto’s announcement is the rise of biometric payment cards. The company has been highly active in this emerging area, having announced at the end of last year that a major Italian bank would be the latest to trial its new fingerprint-scanning payment card solution. Such payment cards are expected by many to be a major new trend in the payments industry over the next few years, so there’s a real possibility that such solutions will have a prominent place in Gemalto’s work for ICBC over the course of this latest phase of their collaboration.