Renesas Electronics and Panthronics AG, a fabless semiconductor company focused on high-performance wireless technology, recently announced a new design which provides manufacturers of secure mobile point-of-sale (mPoS) contactless payment terminals with a new way to reduce the size and the bill-of-materials cost of their products without compromising performance or security.
The companies are demonstrating the new mPoS design at the Panthronics stand 5.2 B041 at the Trustech exhibition (Paris, France, 30 November-2 December 2021).
The design is based on Panthronics’ PTX100R NFC Reader IC for contactless communication, and the Renesas RA6M4 general-purpose secure microcontroller (MCU). The RA6M4 MCU, which has an Arm® Cortex®-M33 CPU with TrustZone technology and integrated security IP, performs all the cryptographic, key management and other security functions required for compliance with the stringent Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards and the EMVCo Level 2 standard for contactless payments. EMVCo Level 1-compliant software runs in the PTX100R.
This design based on a secure MCU offers substantial cost and size advantages over conventional mPoS terminal designs. Today, mPoS terminals feature either a combination of a general-purpose MCU with a discrete Secure Element, or a dedicated PoS-specific system-on-chip (SoC) with built-in security functions. The Panthronics/Renesas solution is superior to both:
- It eliminates the need for a discrete Secure Element by implementing secure payment functions inside the RA6M4. This reduces bill-of-materials cost and saves space on the board. It also strengthens security, because the vulnerable communications path between a discrete Secure Element and host MCU is also eliminated.
- The RA6M4 is a lower-cost component than a dedicated SoC, and is widely available with no security of supply concerns.
Markus Vomfelde, European Senior Manager for MCU Business Development at Renesas, said: “Security, cost and size are the key concerns for manufacturers of the next generation of mPoS terminals, as they battle for market share in a highly competitive market. By proving that an mPoS terminal based on a standard MCU can be fully compliant with all the relevant security and payment industry standards, Renesas and Panthronics have demonstrated a new way for terminal manufacturers to gain a competitive edge while meeting customer demand for security, functionality and performance. We are confident that with this solution, mPoS terminal manufacturers can achieve a BoM cost saving of at least 10% compared to typical designs in production today.”