Infineon`s security solutions serve applications ranging from smart cards to new, emerging use cases. The company’s competencies include tailor-made security, contactless technology as well as embedded control. We offer the industry’s broadest portfolio of security solutions including hardware, software and services. It provides leading security solutions for smart card applications like SIM cards for mobile communication, payment, government identification and transport ticketing. Niloy of BIS in this exclusive interview with Guruprasad Vyasa, Country Head of Sales for Connected Secure Systems, Infineon Technologies India demystifies Infineon leading solutions in the contactless payments segment, their extending focus into the non-standard ID card form factors and defining security to give customers a secure and seamless experience. Edited Excerpts Below.
Q Now, as economies slowly emerge from lockdown, the role of contactless payments is becoming more crucial. Given the ever-accelerating contactless trend, what solutions does Infineon offer to target emerging applications?
» We offer SECORA™ Pay and Coil on Module (CoM) packaging technology.
» We also offer SECORA™ Connect for NFC wearable and IoT payment solutions.
The above-mentioned solution families support convenient, off-the-shelf approved payments for both proximity payments (SECORA™ Pay S/X) at point of sales and – in future – remote payments based on secured embedded solutions supporting second-factor authentication and in-app payments (SECORA™ Connect). For these payment applications, we rely on our security and contactless expertise as well as our extensive turnkey system and Java know-how to combine best-in-class transaction performance with a high-end application feature set (secure HW-based in-app payments, smart access, and biometric second-factor support by CDCVM). All our NFC-powered devices and Secure Elements (SEs) comply with the most efficient security standards, also offering the lowest power consumption and supporting ultra-small form factors to fit in extremely small packages. Moreover, with SECORA™ Connect, we also want to address new markets like wholesale, retail, and M2M Digital Currency markets as a novum digital approach by central banks. The overall aim is to gradually reduce cash payments by offering comfortable and convenient new digital payments methods.
Q When we talk about Infineon providing security solutions, does Infineon just provide the hardware or does it play an instrumental role across the entire end product lifecycle, starting with the design phase?
We provide certified, turnkey solutions including HW security, software, and applets. Building on our contactless excellence and security expertise, we have managed to drastically improve and facilitate the integration effort for card manufacturers and device OEMs by offering approved turnkey solutions including integrated antenna designs.
Contactless technologies are reaching beyond payments to complement and enable other emerging applications. What does Infineon offer for these emerging segments? We are venturing into non-standard ID card form factors including smartwatches, rings, chains, health trackers, and contactless biometric sensor cards for convenient and hygienic contactless payments. On top of these proximity payment devices, we are also equipping new devices with turnkey payment solutions for secured and convenient in-app payments based on integrated second-factor authentication. Approved SE solutions not only hold respective in-app payment applets but as well the biometric credentials for voice or fingerprints -when coupled with a biometric sensor, to make sure that personal data is well protected in an approved SE together with the in-app payment transaction.
Q How do you think this post-pandemic era, where minimal human intervention is the new normal, has boosted contactless technologies?
Due to the pandemic, people are now more health-conscious and prefer safer payment transactions. People have learned to trust contactless technology and value the convenience that comes with it. Convenience and personal hygiene protection will remain center stage as more and more payment and consumer devices go contactless.
Q With the growth of smart cards and contactless payments across the globe, how does Infineon rate the importance of security?
As contactless and other new hands-free technologies can execute transactions over longer distances, there is a growing need for new, secured technologies to protect consumers and the financial industry against fraud and manipulation. Infineon invests more than 13% in R&D.
The Nilson Report, published December 2021, states that in the calendar year 2020, the global payment industry lost 6.8% of all payment transaction revenue to fraud, resulting in a gap of US$ 29 billion in revenue. CNP (which stands for card not present) or remote payment transactions account for 68% of global fraud while 32% of fraud results from proximity payments at the point of sales. These are not trivial numbers and the payment industry has to act accordingly to safeguard both CNP and CP (or card present) payment transactions.
To follow this demand for higher security, Infineon decided to further invest in new payment solutions like SECORA™ Pay, SECORA™ Pay W, and SECORA™ Connect.
Q The ability to integrate different modules for seamless interoperability in security is really important, especially in the current times. However, it is also one of the biggest challenges in the security space. What are your thoughts on the matter?
Interoperability always comes down to industry standards. I can say that Infineon is a member of many security standardization bodies, including EMVCo, NFCF, and FIRA. It is important to note that standards are jointly developed and third-party certification bodies are entrusted with the task of ensuring compliance and compatibility.
Q Does Infineon view India as a promising market for smart cards and contactless payments?
India is a fast-developing country with rapidly rising standards of living and GDP. It has been demonstrated that transitioning towards a cashless society helps lower costs for both businesses and administration. Given the rapid rise in the number of smart cards being issued, it makes sense and is important to directly adopt contactless technologies as they are offering convenience and health/hygiene advantages.
Q How can radar chips revolutionize this segment?
From our point of view, radar chips will play a role in vehicle integration. In smart city build-out, we expect that UWB (and not radar) will play a pivotal role.
Q Can you share any specific use cases you’re working on with partners to power the future of smart cards and contactless payments?
In terms of relation, I can say that we’re currently working together with different enablement partners for credential provisioning and the tokenization of payment cards and devices. Whole new personalization and provisioning approaches will be possible in future. So stay tuned …
Q Finally, I would like to ask about packaging innovations with the ability to increase the durability and robustness of smart cards. Infineon’s innovation in this space?
In a nutshell: our Coil on Module (CoM) packaging technology. Coil on Module plays an important role in enabling manufacturers to replace PVC with new carbon-neutral, eco-friendly cards. New materials based on wood, ocean recovered plastics, or corn to replace traditional plastics is ideally suited to a wire-embedded antenna and our very thin and robust Coil on Module package. Both technologies were designed for efficient deployment in very robust and eco-friendly cards fulfilling the most efficient security and functional requirements based on off the-shelf turnkey solutions approved by various payment networks and debit schemes.