Nordic-powered smartcard replaces up to 200 credit, debit, membership, and transport cards with secure, all-in-one payment solution

Nordic-powered smartcard replaces up to 200 credit, debit, membership, and transport cards with secure, all-in-one payment solution

Maneul Lab’s “The Card” enables a range of payment methods supported by Bluetooth low energy, NFC, embedded IC, dynamic magnetic stripe, and barcode from a single card

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Maneul Lab, a South Korean IT payment solutions company, has selected Nordic’s multiple award-winning nRF51822 System-on-Chip (SoC) for its all-in-one payment, cash withdrawal, transport, membership and security smartcard, called “The Card”.The smartcard can be used anywhere in the world and supports a range of payment methods including Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart), Near Field Communication (NFC), embedded IC, dynamic magnetic stripe, and barcode technologies.

The Card is available either in a ‘Touch’ or ‘3 Button’ version. In operation, the user can load the smartcard with their existing payment, transport, and membership cards via the partner app. The Card is then activated by pressing the power on button, after which in the Touch version the user can scroll through their stored cards in the Electronic Paper Display (EPD) panel, selecting the card they wish to use. In the 3 Button version, stored cards are selected via push buttons on The Card.

The smartcard supports a range of payment or cash withdrawal options including ATMs, online, and offline, NFC transportation, as well as mobile payments. Additional security is provided by way of IC and NFC lock control, allowing the user to lock the embedded IC or NFC functionality from the app until the card is ready for use. An optional one-time password feature adds an additional level of security, requiring a secondary code to operate the smartcard.

Nordic’s nRF51822 is a powerful and flexible multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth low energy and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU with 256kB/128kB flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The embedded 2.4GHz transceiver is fully compliant with Bluetooth 4.2, the latest Bluetooth low energy specification. In The Card, the nRF51822 SoC provides wireless connectivity to both iOS- and Android-compatible Bluetooth smartphones, while the chip’s large capacity Flash memory allows The Card to store the information from up to 200 conventional cards at a single time, significantly improving on existing smartcards that can typically hold information from fewer than ten cards simultaneously.

The Card employs a 10mAh Li-ion battery providing up to one month of battery life in standard operation, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the nRF51822 SoC. The battery can be recharged wirelessly by activating NFC on the user’s smartphone, with a charge time of between one and two hours. In the event of a fully discharged battery, users can still use the card they used last as the information is stored on the smartcard.

“The market for all-in-one smartcards is in its early stages,” says Sion Choi, Maneul Lab Global Business Development Manager. “What we expect is that if they are used by renowned financial, security, and transportation companies, and gain recognition, then we will see an increasing rate of adoption by customers who can integrate all their credit, membership, and transportation cards on one device.”

“We’ve always considered Bluetooth low energy wireless technology as our solution’s essential component,” says Choi. “Our priority was a lightweight, small size, and low power consumption solution and that is why we chose the Nordic nRF51822 chip.”

“Manuel Lab has cleverly leveraged the smartphone interoperability, ultra low power consumption, generous Flash memory and compact dimensions of the nRF51822 SoC for ‘The Card’,” says Ståle “Steel” Ytterdal, Nordic Semiconductor’s Director of Sales & Marketing – APAC. “The Bluetooth low energy connectivity adds security to the smartcard as well as multiplying the already high level of convenience that comes from aggregating multiple cards into one.”

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