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Open & Closed Loop Payment

In payments, both open and closed loop systems are utilized and very often compete.

Closed loop payments schemes allow users to pre-load funds onto their spending account that is linked to the payment device, which is usually a card or wearable.

Customers can re-load amounts to their account through a variety of mechanisms, such as automatic top-up’s, online access or at fixed terminals. Any funds that are not spent cannot be used outside the scheme and so must be refunded to the customer or retained within the system.

Closed loop payments are particularly popular in applications, including cashless vending, festivals, gyms and associations.

Open loop systems connect customer payment directly to a credit or debit card or wearable provided by the banks or card issuer and is subject to their terms and conditions. Payment is not restricted to a particular scheme and can be used outside of the event with any retailer that allows EMV payment.

Closed Loop Payment

Universal Smart Cards has seen a massive rise in the uptake of Smart Cards and Wearables as the security credential for cashless vending and closed loop payments.

In closed loop, applications can vary between 'storing value' on the smart card itself, particularly useful for off-line transactions, or using the card as a 'secure identifier' to back end account-based systems.

In this market there are three types of cards being deployed:

Smart Contact-Chip Memory Cards – these are typically being used for stored value using a counter and are beginning to fade with the ease of contactless cards.

High Frequency (HF) Cards - are an easy to use, convenient technology either storing value or using the UID to link to the back-end system.

More secure Micro-controller (microprocessor) cards -  for those applications where higher security levels are needed for protecting the value being stored on the card itself.

Universal Smart Cards’ knowledge is helping vendors with these smart card technologies. We provide the complete range of cards, both contact and contactless, from our technical center in Portsmouth.

Dedicated account managers are on hand to help with all aspects of card supply from the design concept to the finished card.

Universal Smart Cards can also help with in-house card printing, key initialization or full personalization and fulfilment. Recently we worked with a consultant to replace less secure memory cards, for example, with secure microprocessor cards for stored value in petroleum stations into the middle east.

Universal Smart Cards can help with the following applications:

Unattended vending machines - these are having a bit of a renaissance as highly attractive places to buy things quickly and easily, especially for younger consumers. We are helping customers with card technology for use in vending machines, fuel stations, leisure, gyms and sports centers.

Cashless vending - combining payment in cafeteria or vending points within organizations along with physical and logical access control systems. We can recommend high quality vendors that provide full end to end solutions.

University or Campus cards - allowing student access to multiple services. We work with several vendors that provide full integration of a closed loop campus solution.

Events and festivals - please refer to our range of wearables that we can provide for these markets. Both disposable and silicon wristbands are popular items we sell to these markets. See further link here.

Open Loop Payment


Contactless payment has become the most common way for many people to conveniently pay for low-value purchases. This technology is still rapidly growing, from low-cost wristbands for events, to high value fashion accessories that are now offering payment.


Consumers are now looking for the ease and convenience of paying for something using what they are wearing rather than using a card or not having one on them.

This is giving organizations and wearable manufacturers an ideal way to promote their products and add value to their brand by being innovative and creative.

In addition to added convenience, there is an argument that this gives better security, not only at large events but in every-day shopping too. By wearing it, this reduces the chance of loss and it is arguably harder to steal than in your bag or pocket.

For more information on how we can support you in payment in wearables or smart objects, please see the link to our solutions page here.


Universal Smart Cards can supply a full end to end wearable payment solution including:

The supply of smart insert tags, inlays or labels for third-party integration into devices or brands

Manufacture of a range of OEM-PAYMENT CERTIFIED fobs, wristbands and insert tags. These can be fully branded with your artwork enabling easy deployment.

Provisioning of the device with payment details using our partnership with DIGISEQ. This means we can carry out the complex and specialized tasks of adding payment details with the relevant players in the payment’s ecosystem.

Fulfillment from our technical center in Portsmouth including brand packaging and postage straight to your customer.

Website hosting. Universal Pay is an easy deployment allowing organizations and brands to quickly set up a shopping cart of wearables for easy checkout and purchase.

If you would like more information on how we can help you, please either see more information here at Universal Pay or please contact us and one of our experienced staff members will be happy to assist you.

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