French firm Idemia launches green cards for banks
Idemia, a France-based multinational technology company, has launched Greenpay, a sustainable alternative for banks that wish to offer end-to-end (E2E) green cards.
The firm started working on its green card alternative more than a year ago. So far, BBVA and Société Générale subsidiary Treezor – a Banking-as-a-Service provider – have both started rolling out the new cards.
By end-to-end, Idemia means the entire production of the card. Jean-Rémi Barrot, vice president of Idemia’s banking services, explains each step to FinTech Futures.
What’s an E2E green card?
Traditionally, Idemia doesn’t have an E2E approach to its services, according to Barrot. But to make the card truly green, the company had to reverse traditions and take more of a holistic approach.
“It’s not going to be green if you make one break in the value chain,” says Barrot. “We spotted all the different waste stages and reduced them.”
The company started with the chip design. The smaller the chip, the less polluting it is. So, Idemia’s self-designed chips are small, and instead of being wrapped in plastic, they’re wrapped in recycled PVC.
“Next year, it’ll be bio-sourced materials,” says Barrot. Any emissions Idemia can’t reduce – i.e. anything not in the company’s control – will be offset.
Barrot says Idemia has a partnership with “a certified company”, though he does not name which. Said partner is committed to the United Nations sustainable goals.
“We’re also very picky on the projects we will support [beyond this partner],” adds Barrot.
As for transporting the card, Idemia is “trying to push soft modes such as ships over air carriers”. It has also reduced the use of paper in packaging cards. Currently, the firm is developing printers in its own service centres to ensure printing is done on demand only.
“We’re coming up with recycling solutions for the card too,” says Barrot on what happens to a card at the end of its life.
What Idemia does
Idemia is a global firm known for its ‘augmented identity’ reality solutions. Divided into five key business units, the company caters to an array of sectors.
One is the public security and identity, for which it creates passports and biometric algorithms. The second is the mobile operator, where it provides these firms with sim cards, as well as offering services around the internet of things (IoT) and connectivity.
The third and main business is its financial institutions business unit. It provides payment cards, supplying close to 2,000 financial institutions to date. It takes care of all the shipping, and also creates virtual cards to the physical ones it sends to banks’ customers.
The third and fourth units cover biometric solutions and the US market, respectively.
“We’re now trying to change the paradigm to reusable tech,” says Barrot. “Our road map can’t be perfect right now, but our commitment is to continuously improve it.”
Barrot says the idea for a green alternative “started first internally” amongst employees. “At the same time, we can see supra-national initiatives – such as India’s economy going plastic free, and more recently China trying to reduce plastic usage.”
“We did a survey earlier this year asking 2,800 people in ten different countries if they expected their banks to make eco-friendly cards – 97% said yes.
“Cards have become more visible because of the challenger banks’ slick designs – so it has to be clean.”
Today, Idemia has also launched its global fintech accelerator card programme. Designed to support fintechs and neobanks through the card issuance process, the accelerator will give start-ups access to Idemia’s 30 car service centers.