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21 Jun 2021


Euro & Finance

The Smart Payment Association (SPA) draws attention to the increasing risks in payment card availability, caused by global shortages of chips, and calls upon government bodies as well as stakeholders in banking and payments to improve the situation to the benefit of consumers.

Payment cards are essential for everyday life and business. Nearly 90% of non-cash consumer payments are made using cards in physical stores and payment cards are also critical for accessing cash. In addition, 40-60% of online payments are supported directly or indirectly (via digital wallets) by payment cards.

Securing an uninterrupted supply chain for payment cards is therefore essential to daily life and commerce. As payment cards are issued upon opening a bank account, renewed regularly after their expiration date or replaced in emergency when a card is lost or compromised, each year more than 3 billion EMV-standard based payment cards need to be produced and delivered to consumers worldwide.

During the pandemic, the payment card industry demonstrated resilience and served banks in unprecedented circumstances. The industry was recognized as essential in most CoVid-lockdowns world-wide and was therefore able to continue delivering cards wherever and whenever needed. This took a major effort on the part of payment card operations teams, supported also by governments, banks and payment schemes.

Now, with the global chip shortage another threat has emerged. The widely reported bottlenecks in chip supply have become so critical, that payment card manufacturers face increasing difficulties in obtaining chips needed to produce cards. That crisis is showing no sign of ending half-way through 2021 and will spread throughout 2022. The SPA foresees significant disruptions, in payment card production beyond the reasonable control of payment card manufacturers that will affect their ability to meet full demand.

The SPA has initiated actions with payment schemes, central banks and governments to obtain, from semiconductor foundries, higher priority on the production of chips needed for payment cards and to ensure their adequate supply.

The payment card manufacturers grouped within SPA are committed to make every effort possible to minimise card delivery disruption and serve, in the best possible way, its customers.