SCM Microsystems is to develop and deliver a smart card reader designed to comply with the new Finread specifications currently being prepared by a consortium of banking and payment card organisations.
Through the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), Finread is developing a series of specifications for intelligent smart card readers intended to support electronic commerce, home banking and digital signature applications. Members of the Finread consortium include Groupement des Cartes Bancaires, Visa EU, Europay International, Banksys of Belgium, Interpay Nederland, SIZ, the German savings banks financial group, and French eftpos operator Ingenico.
SCM says its secure readers will be the first to provide support for multiple applications, including credit card, e-purse, loyalty and secure home banking. Readers are expected to be available for deployment in the second half of 2001 with the first prototype in June.
The Finread-compliant readers will include strong cryptographic mechanisms that authenticate smart card users and provide non-repudiation protection for merchants. In addition, the readers will rely on an open Java-based application interface and a K-Java Virtual Machine to enable interoperability of applications across different vendors, along with secure download of applets from a trusted server.
Robert Schneider, chief executive officer at SCM Microsystems believes the Finread specifications are a key milestone for the smart card reader industry, paving the way for reapid deployment of card readers. "Without interoperability between readers, cards and applications, this technology is simply too expensive," he says. "With these common standards and with compelling applications from cash downloads to movie viewing, SCM's potential for reader deployment is tremendous."
Other forthcoming Finread specifications for embedded security will enable digital television broadcasters to offer viewers the ability to pay for premium content through a Finread-compliant remote control, and allow cell phone users to purchase goods and services using a smart card. The specifications will conform to other banking standards, such as Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) and the Europay Mastercard Visa (EMV) specs for smart cards.