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August 21, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 4:25pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Visa International is using Philips Semiconductors’ smart card chip in its new merchant card. The P83C858 cryptocontroller is being developed for trials kicking off in the UK and Japan later this year. Merchant cards need to be particularly secure since they configure, validate and protect reader terminals which are used to authenticate and respond to consumer cards. The Visa Cash trials are the first high-volume trials using public-key cryptography in a financial application, and it is public key cryptography that enables mutually authenticated, high security payment transactions to be processed off-line. Visa expects that over 15,000 cards will be used in the UK trial alone. The P83C858 chip uses 8Kb of EEPROM and 20Kb of ROM, and it contains the Fast Accelerator for Modular Exponentiation (FAME) arithmetic cryptocontroller coprocessor. This provides the highest execution speed of any smart card IC in production today, and Philips claims it is the only company worldwide to be shipping cryptocontrollers in high volume for commercial use.

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