Card Service Life

Often a subject of discussion with Issuers, is how long a card is likely to last once it’s issued. The ISO/IEC 24789 Card Service Life Standard offers an evaluation regime suited to the card technology & application a card is intended to be used in. Put simply, the Standard aims to answer the question, “is the card fit for purpose?”

Today's cards encounter surface wear caused by a variety of circumstances; how the cards are stored, the environments the cards are used in, what devices the cards are used in and how frequently they are used in those devices. The major schemes MasterCard, VISA, American Express, JCB, Discover, UnionPay (and many more) recognise this as a serious issue as it affects readability of the Personalised Printing, Magnetic stripe and in some cases, the Contact Integrated Circuit (IC).

Card Service Life

How long is a card likely to last once it’s issued?


Card Testing International provides testing campaigns using this framework, in order to see how your cards measure up against current card industry expectations.


The ISO/IEC 24789 Card Service Life Standard is split up into two parts:

Part 1: Card Service Life Application Profiles & Requirements (ISO/IEC 24789-1)

CTI consider the following factors specific to your card product:

  1. Technology present on the card (Magnetic Stripe, Contact IC, Contactless IC etc.)
  2. Environmental conditions that the card will be used in
  3. How the card is stored between uses
  4. The type of card reader likely to be encountered
  5. Frequency of use
  6. Period of issue
This information assists us in calculating the ‘Application Profile’ specific to your cards. This consists of an ‘Ageing’ & ‘Usage’ component. The more arduous the Application Profile is, the harsher the evaluation regime imposed upon the card is.


Part 2: Methods Of Evaluation (ISO/IEC 24789-2)

This part of the Standard details the Test Methodology used in the Evaluation Regimes derived in the first part of the Standard. Several tests are taken from ISO/IEC 7810 (Physical Characteristics) & use their corresponding Test Methods found in ISO/IEC 10373-1.

There are also areas served specific to Magnetic Stripe, Contact and Contactless IC cards found in ISO/IEC 7811, 7816-1 & 14443-1 respectively.

Are your card products fit for their intended use, and will they last their period of issuance?

Contact Us, so we can learn more about your cards, and offer an evaluation regime to suit.