What is a secure element?
A SECURE ELEMENT contains a certified microcontroller and embedded software. It is secure, personal and portable and comes in multiple form factors : smart card, USB token, microSD, etc. Eurosmart members manufacture and personalize such secure elements, as well as the software and secure infrastructure around it. Secure elements have a strategic role in protecting digital identities and are vital to ensure digital security and privacy. Eurosmart’s Market and Technology Committee analyses shipments and forecasts of secure elements, highlighting new trends and creating adequate segmentation. The figures (given in millions of units) are divided into 5 main areas:
- Telecom: SIM cards (secure elements with a SIM application)
- Payment & banking: cards issued by banks and retailers for payment services (debit, credit, prepaid schemes…); cards issued by retailers or service providers for loyalty services; and social cards with payment application
- Government & healthcare: cards issued by governmental bodies for citizens identification (travel, ID and healthcare documents) and online services and cards issued by private health insurance companies
- Device manufacturers for mobile devices: Device manufacturers represent Original Equipment Manufacturers of mobile phones, tablets, navigation devices without SIM application (Embedded Secure Element without SIM application.) – excl. Automotive.
- Others: cards issued by operators, for transport, toll or car park services (i.e. “Transport”); cards issued by pay-TV operators for decrypting TV signals (i.e. “Pay TV”); physical and logical access cards.
Each year, we also point the part of contactless secure elements amongst the total amount of secure elements actually shipped or forecasted. Mobility and contactless transactions are key drivers for growth, thanks to the convenient and secure user experience they enable.