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Largest Ever Order For New ‘Contactless’ Cards


Security Plastics Largest Ever Order For New ‘Contactless’ Cards Reaches Into Multi Millions NZD

Investment in contactless smart card technology is paying off handsomely for Security Plastics. Since its successful bid against strong competition from a major European card manufacturer, Security Plastics has received its largest ever order for contactless smart cards from HLB Bank in Malaysia.

Initially used for security access control, Contactless cards are proving increasingly popular for applications that demand faster transactions than the normal ‘contact’ smart card technology. They are ideal for high volume and high-speed applications such as mass transit ticketing, or in this case, toll charge collection at booths on Malaysian freeways.

Unlike contact cards that must be inserted into the terminal to make a transaction, contactless cards are simply waved in front of the terminal (maximum 10 cms distance). Tiny radio transmitters embedded in the card communicate with receivers in the terminals – even through a purse or wallet.

HLB Bank has enjoyed an exclusive deal that allows its credit card customers to take advantage of the faster “Touch ‘n Go” toll charge lanes on the Malaysian freeways. The other ‘cash’ lane is considerably slower with much longer queues.

To date over half a million cards have been supplied worth several million NZD. Security Plastics expects 2001 will bring orders of similar value. Touch n’ Go contactless smart cards are exclusive to HLB bank for a limited period only. After that time the deal will be open to other banks, many of whom have already made inquiries with Security Plastics to supply the technology.
“In today’s fast paced world, people no longer have the time nor the tolerance to wait for an out-dated service when more efficient and convenient technologies exist elsewhere. When contactless cards were first introduced we recognised the opportunities immediately, which is why we invested in Mifare contactless technology,” said Sonya McGill, Security Plastics International Business Development Manager.

“An impetus for the investment was the bid to supply HLB Bank’s contactless cards,” she continued. “We were not only successful in bidding against one of the worlds largest card manufacturers, the bank is also very impressed with the success of the project thanks to our supply of high quality, secure and reliable smart cards.”

“However adopting the new technology was not so automatic,“ said Sonya, “Contactless cards are more complicated and expensive to produce. Furthermore, these are credit cards and so demand strict compliance to stringent credit card security specifications and highly technical specifications of the Mifare interface. It is not like producing mass phone cards. Contactless smart cards for this project must be of an extremely high standard. A new mindset was necessary to adapt to the new production process and, because of the high cost per card, it was imperative that the process be refined to reduce wastage.”

HLB bank credit cards have a smart contactless chip embedded in the card and are co-branded with either the Visa or Mastercard application. The card is essentially a prepay card and credit card all in one. At the bank the cardholder sets the minimum and the maximum toll charge limit value for their card. When value of the chip reaches the minimum limit, the terminal at the booth will automatically reload the chip with the preset amount. The value is then charged back to the cardholder’s credit card account.

Contactless cards are attractive for a number of applications including mass transit, ticketing, identification, access control, phone cards and road tolls. They could be used in conjunction with a loyalty scheme or combined with a credit card function.

The cards can be limited to specific times, areas and number of journeys, or a combination of these. They can also be valid for the individual or for a company, or be of a general, temporary kind such as a phone card that can be purchased anywhere. The card gets its energy from the magnetic field surrounding the card reader's antenna.

For the card issuer, one of the many benefits of contactless as opposed to contact cards are vastly reduced terminal maintenance costs, as there are no belts or pulleys to wear out as in contact card readers. Customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, increased flexibility, more transactions, expandability and upgradablity are some of the other many benefits.

About Philips Mifare
The MIFARE® chip from Philips is a contactless interface for multi-application smart cards. Mifare has the largest installed base with 85% share in automatic fare collection market. It has proven its robustness in mass transit applications and is accepted as de-facto standard throughout the industry.

Mifare is a dual Interface smart card controller (ISO7816, ISO 14443) optimised for open e-purse standards in contact and contactless operation i.e. CEPS; high level languages such as Java, and multi application operating systems such as MULTOS. It is the standard proximity interface for Chip Card ICs, and the only interface technology that is in high volume.

Contactless card specifications
Dimensions: 54mm x 86mm
Plastic types: PVC
Thickness: 0.78mm standard
Memory: 1KByte EEPROM
Speed: 106Kbaud, efficient frames
Interface: Mifare RF contactless interface as suggested by ISO/IEC 14443 type A
Distance: <10 cm with card sized antennae
Frequency: 13.56 MHz operating frequency
High security: Multi authentication, data encryption, and unique 32-bit serial number. User definable access conditions. Secure ticketing transactions average <100 ms.
Reliable: High data integrity (16 bit CRC, parity, bit coding, bit counting). True anti-collision.
Purse functions: Increase/decrease
Battery: Not required
Multi-applications: 16 sectors, 2 keys per sector
Magnetic strips: Hico 2750 Öersted, Loco 300 Öersted
Standards: Produced in accordance with ISO 7810-1995 (E) and ISO 7813-1990 (E) specifications

About Security Plastics
Security Plastics is a market leader in plastic card and smartcard manufacture. Our people, technology and production capability have all been key elements in establishing Security Plastics as a major supplier in our market areas, extending from the Middle East, through Asia and Australasia to South America.

Established in 1983, Security Plastics is part of the Wilson and Horton Group, New Zealand’s largest print company. The company’s product range extends from card manufacturing through to full bureau card processing services.

Security Plastics has one of the most sophisticated card manufacturing facilities in the world operating from Christchurch New Zealand (the first installed in Australasia). Six card sales and bureau service offices in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong are assisting customers worldwide with all aspects of card production.

The company continues to create innovative new technology products and services with performance levels that are among the highest in the industry.

- Ends -

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