German semi conductor manufacturing company, Infineon Technologies will supply security chips for the largest government smart card project in South Africa. Through Net1 UEPS Technologies, the government body “SASSA” (South African Social Security Agency) is issuing biometrically secure EMV/UEPS debit chip cards for financial transactions of social grants across all of South Africa’s nine provinces.
Infineon provides its SOLID FLASH™ SLE 77 security controller to Net1’s subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), a leading payment service provider in South Africa, who is responsible for implementing this service for SASSA. The SOLID FLASH™ SLE 77 allows secure storage of data and identification of the card holder by fingerprints stored on the chip.
The smart card system is based on Net1’s Universal Electronic Payment System, or UEPS, which is a biometric payment technology designed to provide financial services to citizens without access to a bank account.
The project which started in April 2012 had Net1 issuing the first smart cards in June. The new smart card helps more than ten million South African citizens to securely receive their social grants on the issued chip cards with less administrative expenses.
SOLID FLASH products offer increased logistic flexibility and faster time to market. The market benefits from fast prototyping, sampling and programming. In addition, Infineon’s SOLID FLASH products proffer security features such as encryption of the flash memory as well as a specific flash loader mechanism for secure flash memory programming and effective locking.
James Sneedon, Head of Chip and Card business unit at Net1 affirms that, “With Infineon’s SOLID FLASH product, we were able to reduce the time to market significantly which would not have been possible with ROM-based products.”
It also provides at least the same strong security and reliability as masked ROM products.