Visa, Sony and Infineon form Strategic Alliance for Smart Cards to develop a single-chip for GlobalPlatform multi-function smart cards that support FeliCa and other industry standard contactless interfaces

Visa, Sony and Infineon form Strategic Alliance for Smart Cards to develop a single-chip for GlobalPlatform multi-function smart cards that support FeliCa and other industry standard contactless interfaces

SINGAPORE and TOKYO, March 4 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/–Visa International today announced the establishment of a joint working relationship with Sony Corporation and Infineon Technologies for the joint development and promotion of a single-chip GlobalPlatform multi-application chip product that supports Visa Smart Debit/Credit (VSDC) payment and contactless applications based on FeliCa.

Visa aims to complete development of the new chip product by the end of 2003 so that it can be incorporated into the Visa Smart Card Program, making it easier for members to implement FeliCa based transit, loyalty, and e-purse applications on Visa payment cards.

The global payment industry has overwhelmingly embraced contact integrated circuit (IC) payments based on the EMV standard for credit and debit card applications. Meanwhile, contactless transit, loyalty and e-purse applications employing FeliCa contactless technology continue to gain momentum across the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. In fact, over 60 Visa million smart cards based on EMV contact payment technology have been issued worldwide and more than 35 million contactless cards employing the FeliCa operating system have been issued in many countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.

Visa plans to work with Sony and Infineon to jointly develop a single-chip GlobalPlatform product that supports all industry standard contact and contactless interfaces. As with Visa’s existing line of EMV compliant smart card products, the new product would support payments over the industry standard ISO 7816 contact interface. In addition, it will support contactless applications across the ISO 14443 type A and type B interfaces and FeliCa.

Upon successful development to be undertaken in accordance with the agreement entered into among the three companies, Visa, Sony, and Infineon will jointly promote the new chip product throughout the Asia Pacific region in response to strong demand on the part of Visa issuers for products that support a wide array of value-added transit, loyalty, discount, and e-purse applications alongside Visa payment functionality. The alliance leverages Visa’s leadership in the payment industry, Sony’s strength in contactless IC technology, and Infineon’s expertise in the design of secure smart card solutions.

Visa’s ultimate goal is the achievement of cross-platform interoperability across the GlobalPlatform and FeliCa operating environments, which would allow cardholders to use FeliCa based applications to take advantage of special discounts or accumulate loyalty points when making purchases on their Visa cards and enable service providers to offer cardholders the convenience of using VSDC payment functionality to top-up the value on prepaid transit or e- purse applications in one simple transaction.

The payment card industry is rapidly migrating from a magnetic stripe to a chip-based payment environment, driven in part by advances in technology, the appeal of value-added applications, and a desire for reduced fraud. Visa members have already issued more than 9 million EMV compliant Visa smart cards in Asia Pacific, with the bulk having been issued in Japan. The new chip product will further enhance Visa’s family of smart cards, allowing members to tailor multi-application smart cards for different market needs.

Bruce Mansfield, Regional Head of Chip, Visa Asia Pacific, said, “We are delighted to work with Sony and Infineon in this new chip product. This alliance is proof that cross-industry partners can bring great synergies to consumer offerings. Our member banks will be able to provide cardholders with payment and non-payment applications with the flexibility, convenience and security that they want. The new chip product will provide the ideal platform to combine payment and mass transit functionality on a single smart card in those markets where FeliCa is being used, including Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.”

Juergen Kuttruff, Senior Vice President and General Manager Security at the Secure Mobile Solutions business group of Infineon Technologies, emphasizes: “This cooperation is an excellent example of how Infineon leverages its leading-edge contactless technology to meet the increased need for convenience and security of consumers worldwide, particularly in the banking segment. As market leader in the field of smart card applications, Infineon is well positioned to support the successful market launch of the new product from our partnership with Visa and Sony.”

Nicholas Lee, Senior Vice President of Ez–Link Pte Ltd, said, “In Singapore today, we have over 4 million contactless smart cards in circulation and these are used primarily for travel on the public transport network. This new chip presents us with another means to move our card applications beyond the transit arena as it also utilises the Felica operating platform that we currently adopt. We also envisage this development to foster the creation of new synergies between the financial and transportation industry and facilitate the development of new and innovative programmes for our cardholders.”

About GlobalPlatform

GlobalPlatform is the only cross-industry forum focused on the development, management and promotion of specifications for multiple application smart cards, smart card applications, and enabling devices. With support from its global member organizations, GlobalPlatform promotes a standard framework facilitating the implementation of smart card programs in any industry around the world. GlobalPlatform allows flexibility in the choice of technologies and vendors through an emphasis on open standards for cards, terminals and support infrastructure. GlobalPlatform’s card and terminal specifications are the first open standards adopted by GlobalPlatform and will provide a solid foundation from which the organization will define the future of multiple application smart cards.

GlobalPlatform has over fifty members from across Europe, USA, Australia, Japan and Korea, including issuers, manufacturers, and vendors of multiple application smart cards, such as American Express, Hitachi, MasterCard International, JCB, NTT Corporation, Proton World, Schlumberger, Sun Microsystems and Visa International, as well as several government bodies.

About FeliCa

FeliCa is Sony’s contactless smart card technology. With the ability to conduct high-speed encrypted wireless communication using contactless card technology as its defining feature, FeliCa is widely used for public transportation, e-purse (Edy), and loyalty applications. In addition, the FeliCa operating system employs a multi-application platform that enables card issuers to implement multiple applications on a single card. Offering the highest transaction speed in the industry, FeliCa has already been deployed widely by public transportation operators in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and India. It is also widely employed for e-purse applications (bitWallet, Inc.’s Edy) and making credit payments (Sony Finance International, Inc.’s eLIO, the internet credit payment).

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products.

With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2002 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 5.21 billion with about 30,400 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its music, pictures and computer entertainment operations make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of over $57 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002. Sony’s Home Page URL:

About Visa International

Visa is the world’s leading payment brand. Visa-branded cards generate more than US$2.4 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at 30 million physical locations around the world, including 810,000 ATMs in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce- the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way.

About Visa Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, Visa has a greater market share than all other payment card brands combined with 59 percent of all card purchases at the point of sale being made using Visa cards. There are currently more than 365 million Visa cards in the region. During the four quarters ended 30 September 2002, US$606 billion was spent in Asia Pacific using Visa cards, an increase of 35 percent over the previous year. Visa Asia Pacific’s Internet address is

Inquiries from the press should be directed to:

Visa International (Tokyo) Daniel Lintz +81-3-3210-1794

Visa International (Singapore) Florence Fang +65-6-437-5789