Infineon Technologies AG has introduced its ‘Coil on Module’ chip package for Dual Interface bank and credit cards. Dual Interface – used for both contact-based and contactless applications – are a fast growing segment of the global payments industry.
The new ‘Coil on Module’ package combines a security chip and antenna that makes a radio frequency (RF) connection to the antenna embedded on the plastic payment card. Using an RF link rather than the common mechanical-electrical connection between the card antenna and the module, improves the robustness of the payment card and simplifies card design and manufacturing, making it more efficient and up to five times faster than with conventional technologies.
“We expect that worldwide introduction of contactless payment applications will accelerate thanks to our ‘Coil on Module’ technology,” says Stefan Hofschen, President of the Chip Card & Security Division at Infineon Technologies AG. “Using our new chip modules, card manufacturers can manufacture Dual Interface cards much faster and more efficiently than ever before. The innovative ‘Coil on Module’ package technology underlines Infineon’s technology leadership and is based on extensive semiconductor and module expertise as well as profound understanding of card manufacturers’ systems and requirements,” he adds.
The card owner’s individual data are stored on the security chip of the Dual Interface card and uploaded in a payment transaction. Dual Interface cards also contain a card antenna which enables them to communicate contactlessly with card readers at the point of sale. In conventional card manufacturing processes, the chip module is connected to the card antenna via mechanical-electrical procedures, e.g. soldering connections or conductive paste. This method is very complex and always requires individual adaptation of the antenna design to the respective chip module.
The ‘Coil on Module’ technology simplifies this procedure. The antenna integrated on the back of the chip module transmits data to the card antenna using inductive coupling technology, i.e. a radio connection. This makes the card more robust as conventional connections between the chip module and the card antenna – which can be damaged by mechanical stress to the card – are eliminated. With this approach, card manufacturers can much faster and more economically embed ‘Coil on Module’ chip modules into the card than conventional Dual Interface modules. In addition, they can use all Infineon chip/module combinations with a universal card antenna whose design parameters were likewise developed by Infineon. This results in reduced complexity of the manufacturing process of Dual Interface cards.
Card manufacturers benefit from ‘Coil on Module’ package technology in a number of ways:
- Simplified production processes increase yield, consequently decreasing manufacturing costs
- Existing production plants for contact-based chip cards can be used for Dual Interface cards with no further investments
- Previous manufacturing methods required adaptation of the card antenna design to the respective chip. Each Infineon ‘Coil on Module’ chip/module combination now uses the same type of card antenna. This reduces the card manufacturer’s design and testing expenses and simplifies stock management
- By using inductive coupling technology, the chip module can be implanted into the card up to five times faster than with conventional production methods
Infineon’s ‘Coil on Module’ chip package is firstly available for bank and credit cards. However, it is also suitable for other types of Dual Interface smart cards such as electronic access controls, public transport ticketing and electronic identity documents.
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