Design win; Sony selects ST secure MCUs for Japan’s next payment cards

November 18, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
STMicroelectronics has announced that its technology will provide Japan's first payment cards that will have multiple contactless applications in a single chip; ST says that the cards’ auto-detection RF capabilities enhance card-transaction ease and speed

ST's latest dual-interface secure microcontroller has been selected by Sony for the new micropayment-enabled cards that will reach Japanese consumers by early 2016. An advanced dual-interface (contact / contactless) secure microcontroller, ST’s ST31G480 combines high computing power and energy efficiency with flexibility and interoperability. ST positions it as the only device available today that can automatically detect and handle different types of radio-frequency communication used by the card readers (ISO 14443 Types A, B, B'; ISO18092 Type F). This enables Sony and other OEMs to develop and deploy contactless multi-application payment cards that can operate across different standards, infrastructures, and geographies.

The new smartcard payment solution will be the first in Japan to combine both the latest VISA/MasterCard/JCB dual-interface payment schemes and the FeliCa-based payment applications in a single chip.

ST's ST31 chip-card microcontrollers are built on the ARM SecurCore SC000 processor, with support for optional MIFARE libraries and Calypso transport-card standards enhancing multi-application versatility. The ST31 platform has been designed to comply with the most stringent security requirements (EMVCo and Common Criteria EAL6+ security certifications) and cryptography standards (DES, AES, RSA and ECC). Its low-power architecture helps improve communication speed and reliability in contactless applications.

FeliCa is a contactless RFID smart-card system developed by Sony that is in widespread use in Japan and other Asian countries. It is compliant with the NFC-F standard and provides high levels of performance, flexibility and security in public transportation, e-money payment, access management, event ticketing, and customer loyalty programs.