New Card Technologies in Retail Banking: Competition and Collaboration in the 1990s

Boxall, Guy J. (1996). New Card Technologies in Retail Banking: Competition and Collaboration in the 1990s. MPhil thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines the alternative bank card technologies being considered for retail banking in the UK in the 1990s. Influential organisations suggest that this technology needs updating, and various new technologies are being developed.

The thesis identifies the most influential organisations within four groups considered key for retail banking technology: the technology supply industry, the adopting industry, the market and other key players. The observations and analysis in this thesis are based on information provided by each of these four key groups, through written Surveys, face-to-face and telephone interviews, and from a range of written sources. A selection of past and present bank card trials are also described, with particular focus on the introduction of smart card technology.

Results confirm that the innovation process in the retail banking industry accords with a highly interactive model, with feedback loops throughout the innovation process. The adopting industry is seen to follow the innovation process in the opposite direction to that experienced in manufacturing industry. Thus, smaller incremental innovations eventually lead to more radical changes which effect complete systems change on a national basis - a ‘reverse cycle’ model of innovation.

The thesis analyses the evolution of competitive and cooperative strategies, particularly between banks and their collective organisations, building societies and retailers. The thesis concludes that the dominant institutions driving card technology innovation and standards globally are the international debit and credit card corporations Mastercard, VISA and Europay, operating through their organisation EMV. In the UK, the major clearing banks, and their ABACS organisation, and the large retailers are also key actors. The thesis suggests that smart card is the most likely to be adopted.

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