Gemplus has signed up to Visa International’s latest low cost smart card programme, which aims to offer banks a family of cut-price multi-application chip cards.
Gemplus' portfolio will offer various combinations of smart card applications, including loyalty, secure Internet access, and electronic purse, all of which can co-exist alongside Visa’s debit/credit payment applications.
The programme has been developed in conjunction with Philips Semiconductors and is based on the 8-bit WE and Mifare Prox smart card controller families. Both offer hardware supported public key capabilities. The Mifare Prox dual interface range additionally enables both contact and contactless applications, including Visa payment, secure network, and transit (bus or train ticketing) applications.
The latest products follow the introduction last October of a multi-application Visa smart card costing less than three dollars. The price of the new cards will be $3.56 and, for the dual interface card, $4.67. The typical cost of a card supporting public key capabilities is $7.00, says Visa
Gemplus joins Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) and Orga in agreeing to produce the new cards. Other manufacturers are currently negotiating to join the programme says Visa.
The family of new smart cards is based on the Java Card 2.1 and the Open Platform 2.0.1 specifications. The $3.56 card includes a minimum of two applications, such as Visa Smart Credit/Debit and another application, loaded to the read-only memory (ROM) with additional space for multiple applications in the erasable memory (Eeprom). Memory size is 64k ROM and 16k Eeprom.
James Lee, senior vice president, emerging technologies, Visa International, comments: "We are seeing growing demand for these new low cost card products from our member banks worldwide. We have already received large production quantity orders for the low cost card product announced last October. In addition, there is commitment for over four million dual interface cards from banks in Asia Pacific and strong interest in Latin America."