German banking associations certify G&D's smart cards

Source: Giesecke & Devrient

In mid-July, the Zentraler Kreditausschuss (ZKA), the central organization that represents Germany's main banking associations, has awarded an official certification for SECCOS 6.1 smart cards to the first smart card manufacturer: Giesecke & Devrient (G&D).

German financial institutions are now free to launch pilot projects using the new G&D cards in the third quarter of 2007. And by the end of the year, bank customers should receive the first batch of cards produced by the world's second largest provider of smart card solutions. The introduction of the SECCOS 6.1 specification means the card is no longer restricted to the German banking sector. Instead, the new cards will conform to the SEPA Cards Framework (SCF) and so can be used in all countries in the Single Euro Payments Area.

"We succeeded in implementing the SECCOS 6.1 specification very rapidly. Not only that, but we reinforced our position as a trailblazer in smart card technology by being the first manufacturer to obtain a ZKA certification," said Axel Deininger, head of G&D's Payment Division.

SECCOS 6.1, being a SEPA-compliant operating system, expands the current national ec-cash debit system to ensure compliance with the international EMV standard. In addition, it supports the implementation of MasterCard and Visa credit card applications. The multi-application cards come packed with other applications, including GeldKarte and an optional digital signature function that already meets future legal requirements for key length and other security mechanisms. SECCOS 6.1 also supports co-branding for both Maestro and V Pay, the international debit card functions of MasterCard and Visa. That gives banks greater opportunities to expand and enhance their card offerings.

There are currently 90 million debit cards and 23 million credit cards in circulation in Germany. While existing smart card versions will see their SECCOS 5.0 operating system replaced with the new SECCOS 6.1, new smart cards will already come with SECCOS 6.1 pre-installed on them.

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