Secure efficient SoC for affordable mobile payment terminals

13th September 2019
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Secure efficient SoC for affordable mobile payment terminals

Card payment terminals are about to become even more affordable and ubiquitous with a new single-chip controller developed by STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor provider serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, and mobile payment solutions disruptor YouTransactor.

Combining YouTransactor’s market knowledge and intellectual property of security and point-of-sale payment terminals and applications, with ST’s chip-design skills and intellectual property including cyber-protection and sophisticated display-graphics control, the new chip is the first PCI secure SoC for mobile payment terminals to be based on a general-purpose microcontroller for robust performance and low power at a cost-effective price.

“YouTransactor aims to make secure payment technologies easily accessible to merchant service providers to create a seamless purchasing experience between consumers and merchants of all sizes,” said Jean-Pierre Gressin, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, YouTransactor. “The new controller, developed with ST, delivers a massive boost to our mission and the timing is perfect, as retailers’ selling models are evolving quickly and in-store and online customers increasingly expect mobile card-payment facilities everywhere.”

Christophe Mani, Ecosystem Security Marketing Manager, STMicroelectronics, added: “Leveraging our proven STM32 microcontroller platform has enabled us to combine affordability with low power consumption supporting the development of new, lightweight devices that comply fully with payment industry standards including EMVCo and PCI PIN Transaction Security requirements.”

The new System-on-Chip, the YTSECPCI, is commercialised by YouTransactor with the support of ST and is available to customers on flexible delivery terms from YouTransactor, subject to Non-Disclosure Agreement. 

Launched last month, the YTSECPCI has already been embedded and deployed in 50,000 payment terminals, with over one million units ordered for 2019 to 2020, reflecting the strong demand of the retail industry for low-cost secure payment devices.

As a fully integrated System-on-Chip (SoC) with a PCI (Payment Card Industry) kernel, the new device embeds all the physical security mechanisms required by PCI PTS (Pin Transaction Security) to ensure the safety of transactions and user data. These include mesh monitoring, switch monitoring, support for secure application loading and secure boot, advanced cryptographic libraries, active software and hardware tamper detection with data-erase, card-data and pin-code protection, key management, and real-time clock (RTC) integrity protection. 

Contact and contactless payment modes are all supported, and the chip comes pre-certified to PCI specifications to ease final approval of customers’ products. In addition to mobile point-of-sale (POS) terminals, the SoC can also be integrated in devices such as vending machines, IoT, cash registers, smartphones or retail hardware.

The chip leverages the advanced features and ultra-low-power technologies of ST’s STM32L4 microcontrollers. Highlights of the MCU include 100DMIPS/273CoreMark processing performance, multiple power-management modes to help minimise overall energy consumption, large on-chip data and program memory, and ST’s Chrom-ART Accelerator to handle sophisticated user-interface graphics. 

In addition, engineering teams benefit from the extensive STM32 development ecosystem, including initialisation tools, free essential middleware and software, and graphical development tools available through the ST Partner program. 

To further aid development and accelerate time to market for innovative payment devices, ST and YouTransactor have also created a dedicated evaluation board and reference design containing the YTSECPCI.

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