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Printed Electronics World
Posted on May 14, 2007 by  & 

Paper RFID cards for MasterCard and others

MasterCard Worldwide has signed a development agreement with ASK of France to create paper-based contactless payment solutions for use in transit and other payment environments. The announcement was made at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conference in Los Angeles. There are now reported to be nearly 13 million MasterCard PayPass stored value cards in use at more than 46,000 merchant locations worldwide. That is a tiny fraction of the three billion or so credit and debit cards in use worldwide but it is growing fast. Initially, the product will use a silicon chip but the antenna will be rotary screen printed.
The printing of UHF antennas on RFID labels is now commonplace but it is usually for the less demanding UHF frequency where worse definition and conductance can be tolerated. ASK has shipped over 50 million contactless paper tickets with printed antennas working at the card/ ticket standard ISO 14443 for HF (13.56MHz). ASK also prints HF antennas in passports and has an order for RFID in passports for Greece. ASK has appropriate patents. In 2006, Hyan Label of China shipped ten million HF student discount labels for the Chinese railway system. They printed the antennas roll to roll on paper, no insert being needed. Motorola, ACREO and others are studying how to replace the chip with printed logic on paper leading to further improvements in cost and ruggedness.
Contactless paper tickets have already been issued worldwide in mass transit Automatic Fare Collection AFC systems. UPM Raflatac has orders for Russia and XinTag has orders for railway tickets in China where the potential is three billion tickets yearly.
Thierry Burgess, US General Manager for ASK, says that merging contactless paper tickets with Mastercard PayPass will provide a cost-effective and user-friendly quick payments solution for consumers. MasterCard is making efforts to develop other PayPass-enabled devices, such as key fobs, mobile phones, wristwatches and wristbands.
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