Confirmed at Cartes 2012, Infineon Technologies have announced that bank cards issued by the German Sparkasse Verlag, Swiss Maestro debit cards and France’s Carte Bancaire cards will be equipped with Infineon’s new SOLID FLASH security controllers. The company also said that the products will also be shipped to projects in other European countries, North and South America as well as Africa and Asia (Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia) in the course of volume ramp up.

Infineon provides the industry’s only Flash-based security controller that – in addition to contact-based payment – also includes contactless functionality. Compared to conventional products, SOLID FLASH-based controllers are up to 40 percent faster in contactless applications. The reliable and high processing speed increases the convenience for the end user and will further increase acceptance of the contactless use of bank cards or multifunctional smart cards.

Infineon are quick to point out that card manufacturers are benefiting in a variety of different ways from the flexibility of SOLID FLASH technology; compared to conventional Mask ROM technology, lead times – from the determination of variants to delivery – can be approximately cut in half. Rapid error-checking and -correction during software development result in further savings of time and costs; short-term modifications due to changed customer needs can be immediately factored in using Flash technology. This reduces planning expense, inventory costs and market risks for the card manufacturer.

At the same time, SOLID FLASH products also include sophisticated security and reliability features superior to those of Mask ROM products. Security along the value chain from prototyping to delivery of the end product is given thanks to secure mask transfer, secure downloading and a special locking mechanism and is certified together with the hardware. The secure locking mechanism prevents modification of program code and personal data. Each chip is also equipped with a random key. Infineon’s Flash-based security controllers fulfill today’s highest security standards. They are certified up to EAL 6+ (high) according to the international “Common Criteria” standard and have EMVCo approvals. 

As the current market leader for security controllers for payment applications, with a market share of 33 percent in 2011 (IMS, an HIS company, July 2012), Infineon is establishing a new industry standard with its SOLID FLASH security products. According to the current study by the market research company IMS (“The World Market for Payment and Banking Cards” – 2012 Edition, July 2012), the market for smart card ICs in payment applications will grow from 1.5 billion pieces in 2012 to 3.6 billion pieces by 2017.

Security controllers for payment cards store operating information and personal data for secure processing of payment transactions. The desired functionality of payment cards is constantly expanding and requires ever-greater security in an increasingly connected environment. EC or credit cards are becoming multi-application cards that – in addition to contactless payments – can also offer contactless access to transportation systems. Additional uses include projects by public authorities in regions with weak banking infrastructures such as South Africa, where smart cards are used for payment of social grants.

Further information on chip card and security solutions from Infineon is available at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: