Swedish banks to adopt Proton chip technology

Swedish banks to adopt Proton chip technology

An e-purse issuing consortium of Swedish banks is to be the first licensee for Proton's new multi-application Prisma technology.

The Bankernas Kontantkort Cash Association (the consortium of banks that operate the Proton-based 'Cash' smart card scheme in Sweden, made up of Nordea, SE Banken, Svenska Handelsbanken and Swedbank) says it will upgrade its existing Proton host system to enable it to support smart cards based on the multi-application Prisma technology. The four issuing banks in the consortium account for over 85% of the retail banking market in Sweden.

Proton Prisma is the new multiple-application smart card technology from Proton World. The core of Proton Prisma is made up of CALC, a secure applications management platform which is a spearhead implementation of the forthcoming Open Platform 2.1 standard, and DFM, a toolkit for the creation of multiple applications.

The Swedish Proton Prisma cards will contain a full range of applications, including Aspic, a PKI-based authentication application and the Ceps-based e-purse interface for cross-border interoperability. These applications will be activated by the consortium members at a future date says Proton World.

The Swedish system is currently the third-largest Proton-based smart card programme in the world, with 7.3 million cards issued and 33,176 terminals installed. The Cash e-purse is typically combined with credit and debit applications on the same card, but up to now, these applications have used conventional mag-stripe technology.

The first part of the Swedish system to be upgraded will be the jointly-owned Proton e-purse host and then each bank's individual EMV (credit/debit) card issuing system. The first Proton Prisma cards are scheduled to be issued in a pilot in October 2001 by Nordea.

The EMV standard for internationally-accepted credit and debit applications was devised by Europay, MasterCard and Visa. It specifies the use of smart card technology and obliges issuers to migrate to EMV-compliant systems by the end of 2005.

Armand Linkens, CEO of Proton World, said: "We are not surprised that our Swedish licensees are the first to adopt Proton Prisma, as the Swedish banks are leading Europe in offering high-technology banking services via the Internet, television and GSMs. Proton Prisma has been designed to deliver the tools required to make electronic payments in all of these domains to technologically-advanced customers, such as the Swedish banks, who will provide optimum deployment fields for its flexible multiple-application capacities."

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