The Nilson Report

THE CURRENT ISSUE: Issue 1135 | Jul 2018


Companies featured in this issue include:

Europe Global General Purpose Cards

Largest U.S. Prepaid Card Issuers

Idex Biometrix Fingerprint Card Security

Store Cards in the U.S.—2017

Flexiti Buys Canadian Private Label Cards

Sutton Bank Card Issuing Services

Blispay Visa Card for Instant In-Store Financing

U.S. Commercial Bank Cards—Part 2

Investments & Acquisitions—June 2018

Newland Payment Technology POS Terminal

Corporate Card for Startup Companies

Europe Market Shares of Purchase Volume 2017

Investments & Acquisitions—June 2018

Prepaid Cards in the U.S. 2017

U.S. Store Credit Cards 2017 vs. 2016

Europe Market Shares of Purchase Transactions by Brand

Europe General Purpose Cards 2017 vs. 2016

Year-Over-Year Growth/Decline in Purchase Volume on Cards Issued in Europe 2000-2017

U.S. Visa & Mastercard Commercial Cards Purchase Volume 2017

Prepaid Cards in the U.S. 2017

The 50 largest Visa, Mastercard, and Discover prepaid card issuers are ranked on page 6 based on purchase volume for goods and services in 2017.

1. The Bancorp Bank
$38.44 billion purchase volume, +5.2%
2. MetaBank
$35.28 billion purchase volume, +10.3%
3. Green Dot Bank
$21.60 billion purchase volume, +32.2%
4. Comerica Bank
$18.50 billion purchase volume, +2.9%
5. JPMorgan Chase
$16.40 billion purchase volume, +3.3%

Full access to the Top 50 Prepaid Cards in the U.S. 2017 is available when you subscribe to the Nilson Report.



A growing number of proof-of-concept and pilot tests of contactless fingerprint-based biometric payment cards utilize both sensor and inlay technology from Idex Biometrics. In many other pilot tests of biometric cards worldwide that have already occurred or are in progress, the sensor technology and inlay technology are provided by separate vendors.

Idex’s “off-chip” sensor technology integrates a payment card’s existing security element, which is different from the system design of other suppliers. The company’s research and development is aimed at fewer components, with all of them operating on a single chip. By comparison, fingerprint cards from other vendors require multiple chips, which necessitate a dedicated power management system to drive all of the components to match the fingerprint to its template stored in the card. 

Idex Biometrics’ system of fewer components and an integrated power management system contributes to optimal power efficiency. This is particularly helpful for contactless payments secured by fingerprint biometrics. 

For both contact and contactless payments, an electrical charge is needed to initiate a match of the user’s fingerprint to the template. However, there is less electrical charge created when a contactless card is tapped on a card reader. 

Idex technology was used in contact-type biometric tests by Absa in South Africa and National Bank of Kuwait. Currently, Idex Biometrics’ technology is deployed in China to test contact and dual-interface (contact and contactless) EMV-compliant biometric fingerprint contactless cards. Feitian Technologies is the card manufacturer. 

Idex has worked closely with Mastercard to establish and define the qualification process for biometric fingerprint cards including security assessments by third parties, ISO requirements for the flexibility needed for payment cards, and accuracy performance metrics (false positive and false negative responses) from the biometric authentication. 

Idex says it is on a path to create within three years an EMV-compliant dual-interface card with biometric fingerprint authentication capabilities that costs only a little more than the average EMV card costs today. If it is successful, this would have a significant impact on the payment card manufacturing industry. The ability to secure contactless cards with biometric authentication will extend for years the usefulness of cards as a form factor to initiate a payment at the point of sale. 

Stan Swearingen is CEO at Idex Biometrics in Oslo, Norway, 47 (67) 839-119,,

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