Home > ams and STMicroelectronics launch breakthrough solution for secure NFC mobile payments and transactions

ams and STMicroelectronics launch breakthrough solution for secure NFC mobile payments and transactions

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STMicroelectronics Pty Ltd has partnered with ams AG to launch a new NFC system reference design that assures easy, reliable and secure contactless transactions on mobile and wearable devices. ams is a leading provider of high-performance analogue ICs and sensors.

The new NFC system aims to transform and greatly enhance the usability of NFC technology. The reference design’s advanced analogue circuitry delivers outstanding NFC performance even in devices with room for only a tiny antenna, or typically adjacent to metal surfaces or shielded by the user’s hand, and mounted in a location hostile to RF transmissions.

The new system combines an AS39230 analogue front end (AFE) with boosted NFC technology from ams, along with the ST21NFCC controller and ST33G1M2 Secure MCU from ST, to simplify the consumer’s experience of contactless transactions into a quick and completely reliable process for payments in shops, ticketing in metro/urban mass transit infrastructure, or access control.

OEMs will also benefit from market-proven worldwide certification, including for Common Criteria, EMVCo, GlobalPlatform, and Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and PBOC (People’s Bank of China).

Laurent Degauque, Embedded Security Marketing Director at STMicroelectronics’ Secure MCU Division explains that the partnership with ams enables ST customers to enjoy complete NFC turnkey solutions with enhanced RF performance and reduced cost of integration and ownership. The common reference design can be easily integrated into various devices including mobile phones, smartwatches, wearables and secure connected devices, and will significantly improve consumer experiences with contactless transactions.

ams’ new AS39230 boosts the signal on the antenna, increasing the signal strength up to 10 times when compared to conventional passive load modulation (PLM) methods of transmitting a signal from an NFC tag, card, or card emulator to an NFC reader. In space-constrained designs, the size of the antenna can be reduced by as much as 20 times, down to 100mm² or less, while maintaining the same signal strength. The AS39230 even allows for the device’s metal casing to be used as an antenna, reducing the board space required for the NFC antenna and its related costs to nothing.

Paired with ams’ boosted NFC chip, ST’s ST54E System-in-Package (SIP) contains the ST21NFCC controller and the ST33G1M2 32-bit secure microcontroller for Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC), embedded Secure Element, and microSD-card applications.

The ST33G1M2 Secure Element,which supports the latest Global Platform GP2.2 OS and the complete MIFARE portfolio including MIFARE Classic and MIFARE DESFire, offers market-proven best-in-class performance for banking and digital access applications along with full compatibility with major worldwide transportation schemes.

Based on the ARM SecurCore SC300 32-bit RISC core, the ST33G1M2 delivers Common Criteria-certified security features, together with a large and flexible embedded eFLASH, which allows OEMs and service providers to plan for future implementations with proven TSM (Trusted Service Management) infrastructure compatibility.

The AS39230 and ST54E support all important NFC standards governing card emulation, including ISO14443 type A/B, FeliCa at data rates up to 424kb/s, active peer-to-peer bit rates of 212kb/s and ISO18092 communication at up to 424kb/s.

Mark Dickson, Director of Marketing in the Wireless Connectivity and Power Division of ams observed that consumers will continue to use their phones or smart watches for mobile payments and contactless ticketing only if the technology works faultlessly every time, no matter how they present their device to the reader. OEMs can ensure there is no compromise with their device’s card emulation capability by combining the world’s best-performing active boost technology in ams’ AS39230 with ST’s advanced NFC System-in-Package.

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