Datacard Group today announced that they are acquiring Entrust a digital certificate and identity services provider. Financial details were withheld by both private entities, the companies said in a release. Entrust will be a separate business unit led by its former CFO, David Wagner, while Entrust’s CEO, Bill Conner, will stay on in an advisory role for up to a year, the release said.

Datacard Group was founded in 1969 at the beginning of the payment card industry when credit cards and eventually debit cards only had magnetic stripes to store digital data. Datacard Group builds and sells the equipment and materials that allow financial institutions to create and manage the issuing of payment cards. They have branched out broadly into identity cards too, such as the US Passport Card.

While most US payment cards are still rectangles of plastic with magnetic stripes most of the rest of world has graduated to much more secure smart cards with embedded chips in them.

According to Todd Wilkinson, president and CEO of Datacard Group, the need for better security in identity cards and payment cards drove Datacard Group to approach Entrust which has been introducing new identity platforms based on strong encryption and digital certificates. Both organizations sell to governments for national identity cards and passports: Entrust providing the strong security, Data Card providing the physical IDs.

Wilkinson and Wagner said the acquisition provide customers with more highly integrated products and services. The transaction is expected to close on December 31, 2013.

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