Who? The Consumer!
What’s striking this time is the upcoming of someone our industry had forgotten for too long: the Consumer! Traditionally, smart cards, born in Europe, have been imposed onto the end-user by mobile network operators and bankers, or even governments. Now that the balance of power is shifting from Europe to Asia, and potentially to North America, the secure transactions industry is in a more service-oriented consumer-centric environment. As such, it has to take more care of the end-user, who is just becoming a Consumer, willing to make his own decisions, aware of his rights and ready for choices.
At the same time, borders between the SIM card user, the bank cardholder, the healthcare patient and the ID card owner are getting increasingly blurred: NFC puts together telecom and payment, the Russian government is mixing ID with healthcare and payment (cf. Focus Section), an experiment in Spain puts ID on a mobile phone (cf. Smart Insights Weekly #11-08), bringing the user at the center of the decision making process. With NFC and more globally in the new card environment, the consumer is to make more choices. We, the secure transaction industry, will have to adapt to the consumer, not the other way round.