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Celebrating a Quarter Century of Testing Success – Barnes marks its 25th Birthday


The technology behind credit and debit card security has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, with the payments industry committed to staying one step ahead of the ever-present fraudsters.  One of the companies behind the security success is Barnes International, who have been creating the world’s fastest, most reliable and most accurate mag-stripe and EMV testing tools. These tools have taken the company to global leaders in the quarter of a century since the company launched. On 10th June 2016, Barnes International celebrated their 25th birthday, and what a 25 years it has been.

In 1991 the magnetic stripe was the pinnacle of cashless payment technology. The EMV – or ‘chip and PIN’ system – wouldn’t even be thought of for another ten years, and yet payment security was already becoming a problem. The world’s leading financial institutions were looking for a means to ensure customers always received a quality product that would work first time and enhance their brand image.  Barnes was launched in response to that challenge and first developed the Mag-Tester,  a magnetic stripe analyser.

In the intervening years, card payment technology has evolved.  The magnetic stripe has almost been replaced across Europe, Canada, the Middle East and Asia and that trend looks set to continue across the United States of America and all parts of Africa. Chip and PIN technology has also changed to keep up with consumer needs leading to the introduction of NFC contactless payments both on the card and mobile phone, and now watches and wearables. Through each of these developments, Barnes has stayed at the forefront of the testing business, with their tools used for payment product development and quality control, payment scheme EMV certification, and supported by consultancy services and training.

Today, Barnes has customers in more than 95 countries, and can truly claim to be a global leader in payment testing.  Banks, Issuers, Card Manufacturers, Personalisation Bureaus and Test Laboratories all rely upon the strength of Barnes’ test tools to deliver the highest quality services to their individual customers.  Their customer list proudly includes 19 of the top 20 payment card manufacturers and 7 of the world’s top 10 financial institutions.

Brian Summerhayes, Barnes International Managing Director, comments: ‘What a phenomenal 25 years it’s been. When we launched Barnes we were confident of the products and services that we offered, but card testing is a competitive industry, and at that time I don’t think that any of us involved could have predicted the success that we’ve achieved.

‘Thanks to our dedicated team of developers, close industry relationships and commitment to offering superior levels of customer support, we’ve been able to carve a distinct niche within the market, delivering products which are rigorously kept in-line with frequently-updated payment scheme specifications and quickly made available to our customers.  We are all incredibly proud of that.

‘When we launched in the 90s, cash was still the dominant method of payment; today EMV chip cards are used for more than 96% of payment transactions in Europe, 86% of transactions in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, and 83% in Africa and the Middle East. Our contribution to that staggering spread has been the installation of confidence that comes from our reliable and easy-to-use tools and customer-facing technical experts.  This is the heart of what we do at Barnes; to ensure our customers can confidently offer their customers secure and innovative payment solutions.’

‘The last 25 years have seen a huge amount of change within the industry; our job now is to anticipate what the next 25 will bring. It’s exciting times ahead.’

See a summary of our journey to become a world-leader in Magnetic Stripe and EMV Testing, click the Infographic below.

Barnes 25 Infographic FNL

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