SAN FRANCISCO Visa International said last week that its member financial institutions have issued 42 million Visa-branded smart cards worldwide.
Europe continues to dominate Visa smart card growth, with some 34 million cards, followed by Asia Pacific with six million. Other regions, including the United States, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, account for two million.
Gaylon Howe, executive vice president, consumer product platforms at Visa International, said, When we last audited our smart card figures two years ago, we had 23 million smart cards worldwide. We have now nearly doubled that figure, and the pace of growth will only accelerate as more financial institutions begin to use chip technology.
In the European Union region, Visa has committed to investing $151 million to accelerate the introduction of chip-card technology. In the United States, Visa U.S.A. has launched its smart Visa program to enable banks to offer added security, utility, and convenience to consumers and businesses. Three U.S. banks the First USA division of Bank One Corp., FleetBoston Financial Corp., and Providian Financial Corp. are now issuing the new smart cards.