SmartMetric (SMME): Biometric Protection Against Credit Card Fraud

Edward Kim  |

Credit card fraud hit a record high in 2016 with 15.4 million victims in the US, up 16% from 2015, according to Javelin Strategy & Research's 2017 Identity Fraud Study. 47% of US consumers have experienced credit card fraud in the past five years, according to the Global Consumer Fraud Survey conducted by ACI Worldwide and AITE Group. The recent cyber attack that exposed 143 million Equifax (NYSE: EFX) accounts has sharpened this issue into focus for anyone who wasn't already concerned about privacy breaches and identity theft.

The burgeoning market of identity access and management is estimated to grow from $8.09 billion in 2016 to $14.82 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 12.9%, according to a report earlier this year from MarketsAndMarkets Research. We've been following a company called SmartMetric (OTCQB: SMME) that appears to be well positioned in the biometric security segment of this market. The company has spent more than a decade in the development of fingerprint validated and activated biometric credit and security cards and now has the manufacturing capacity to produce 1 million cards a month, according to President and CEO Chaya Hendrick.


Source: SmartMetric

The company showed both its Biometric Credit Card along with its Cyber and Access Security Card at the Money 20/20 Conference in Las Vegas last week. The fingerprint of the card owner is stored inside the card, and the process of scanning and matching of the person's fingerprint is done on the card itself. Additionally, the card has an internal rechargeable battery that charges the system as the card is being used in card readers.

According to Ms. Hendrick, the company is in discussion with seven banks about issuing the SmartMetric card as a direct result of exhibiting at the Money 20/20 Conference. Additionally, SmartMetric is in talks with distributors and representatives about global sales and marketing of the Biometric Credit Card. The company also announced last week that it had been issued five new patents covering biometric fingerprint cards.

SmartMetric's stock carries the attendant liquidity risks of OTC stocks, but we note that it's quoted on the QB segment of the market, which means that the company is current in its reporting and undergoes an annual verification and management certification process. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and Ms. Hendrick has been President, CEO and Chairman since the company’s inception in 2002. She previously served as President and CEO of Smart Micro Chip, Smarticom and Fast Econ, all Australian corporations.

The company has had hiccups in its product development process, including its unfortunate reliance on a supplier of fingerprint sensors that discontinued manufacturing the components a few years ago. We'll be watching the company closely for signs that its manufacturing supply chain is functioning to meet capacity demands, but we think the stock presents a reasonable risk-reward proposition at a market capitalization of just $13 million.


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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
EFX Equifax Inc. 141.59 1.61 1.15 728,537 Trade
SMME Smartmetric Inc 0.03 -0.00 -10.00 32,345

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