German Smart-Card manufacturer Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) is banking on the Canadian market’s impending move towards chip-based payment-card systems to boost its Canadian operations.

G&D has more than doubled its manufacturing plant space in anticipation of more business coming from Canadian card issuers’ and merchants’ migration from magnetic stripe-based payment cards to chip-based EMV smart cards, which are more secure and have the capacity to store large amounts of encrypted information and applications. EMV is an international standard for chip-based payment cards, ensuring global interoperability of different payment cards and payment terminals.

G&D recently moved from a 60,000-sq. ft. manufacturing plant to a newly built 125,000-sq. ft. facility in Markham, Ont. “With the new facility in Markham we are able to supply the growing demand of the North American market effectively from both a volume and technology perspective,” said Michael Kuemmerle, G&D group executive for cards and services.

The company, which is based in Munich, is also looking to serve the government sector as it explores the deployment of highly secure identification cards through smart card technology.

MasterCard Canada and Visa Canada have announced that they will switch to chip-embedded EMV-based payment cards by 2010. The two companies are working closely with their respective card issuers and acquirers to assist in the system migration process, according to executives from both firms.

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