MasterCard and Keycorp have launched a multi application smart card priced at under $3.
The 16K chip is the first global implementation of the Multos 4 multi application operating system developed by Keycorp and available as a standard program on the Infineon platform. A 32K version will be available in 2001 on a variety of semi-conductor platforms, including Infineon and Philips.
Both MasterCard's M/Chip credit/debit application and a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) application will be loaded on the ROM (Read Only Memory) portion of the chip. This will make more of the chip's Eeprom (electrically erasable program read only memory) available for issuer specific applications such as e-cash, loyalty, e-ticketing.
MasterCard anticipates 15 million of the low-cost cards will be rolled out worldwide by 2003. Jeff Portelli, senior vice president, product delivery services group, MasterCard Asia/Pacific, comments: "A secure, multi-application smart card for under $3 removes the last barrier our member financial institutions may have in migrating to chip-based cards."
The initiative was welcomed by John Tsung, president of Acer Internet Services. He says Acer is already building smart card readers as a core component of its new model laptops. He adds: "We plan to incorporate smart card readers as a standard feature in all our products. This smart card initiative by MasterCard and KeyCorp is certainly a major development."