Analog becomes smart: Sapphire crystal with payment chip from Infineon turns every watch into a contactless payment device

Sep 23, 2020 | Business & Financial Press

Munich, Germany, and Graz, Austria – 23 September 2020 – More and more people around the world are paying contactless because it's easy, fast and hygienic. Especially in the wake of the Corona pandemic, the acceptance and spread of the technology has accelerated significantly. In addition to ATM or credit cards, so-called wearables are also in high demand. For the first time, it is now possible to equip traditional wristwatches or luxury models made of metal with the contactless payment function. The Swiss company Winwatch integrates tiny security chips from Infineon Technologies AG (FSE: IFX / OTCQX: IFNNY) almost invisibly into its patented sapphire crystal STISS? for this purpose. The chip enables fast and secured payment transactions by radio frequency within milliseconds.

"A fast and robust connection from the watch to the reader at the checkout is crucial for customer acceptance," says Alex Kalbermatten, CEO of Winwatch. "Infineon surpasses all other solutions currently available on the market in terms of wireless quality. For example, by integrating the contactless chip we were able to develop a sapphire crystal that turns every watch - from mechanical heirlooms to metal sports watches - into a contactless payment device. And all of this without a battery."

"Whether with a classic card, a fashion accessory such as a ring or smart wearables – chip innovations from Infineon combine the real and the digital world and enable simple, secured and hygienic payment transactions," says Bj?rn Scharfen, Head of the product line Payment & Ticketing Solutions at Infineon. With our security and contactless expertise as well as energy-efficient chip design, we play a leading role in this growth market".

The most widely used contactless payment method is still the credit or debit card. According to ABI, already two thirds of all cards used today are contactless. Their share is expected to grow to more than 80 percent by 2025. The market researchers estimate another 1.9 billion contactless cards to be shipped in 2020 worldwide. The demand for wearables with a payment function is also growing continuously. According to a study more than 75 percent of all Mastercard transactions in Europe are now contactless. Payment transactions with smartphones and wearables have doubled within a year from seven to 14 percent.

With a market share of more than 47 percent*, Infineon is the world's number 1 in payment chips for cards and the leader in contactless technologies. The Munich-based semiconductor manufacturer operates its own competence center for contactless technologies in Graz, Austria.

Combination of chip technology, data security and antenna design

Contactless payment solutions require a triad of semiconductor technology, encryption and analog radio technology. Whether card, watch, ring or key fob, the integrated chip plays a central role.

It is a mini-computer measuring just a few square millimeters that initiates and controls all communication between the customer and the financial institute via a small antenna. Within around 200 milliseconds – the blink of a human eye – the chip proves the authenticity of the device with an individual signature and creates a cryptogram of card data, payment amount and place of payment. After successful verification, the bank confirms the payment to the reader.

Communication between the card or wearable and the reader is based on NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. At a distance of two to ten centimeters, the chip uses only the energy field of the reader to calculate, encrypt and transmit the data.

*ABI Payment and Banking Cards Secure IC Technologies Report July 2020

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG is a world leader in semiconductor solutions that make life easier, safer and greener. Microelectronics from Infineon is the key to a better future. In the 2019 fiscal year (ending 30 September), the Company reported sales of €8.0 billion with around 41.400 employees worldwide. With the acquisition of US-based Cypress Semiconductor Corporation in April 2020, Infineon has become a global top 10 semiconductor company.

Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and in the USA on the over-the-counter market OTCQX International Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY). Further information is available at www.signoraa.com

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Information Number

INFCSS202009-093

Press Photos

  • The Swiss company Winwatch integrates a tiny security chip from Infineon almost invisibly into its patented sapphire crystal STISS? for turning an analog watch into a digital payment device. The chip enables fast and secured payment transactions by radio frequency within milliseconds. (Copyright: Winwatch)
    The Swiss company Winwatch integrates a tiny security chip from Infineon almost invisibly into its patented sapphire crystal STISS? for turning an analog watch into a digital payment device. The chip enables fast and secured payment transactions by radio frequency within milliseconds. (Copyright: Winwatch)
    STISS_Sapphire_Crystal_Winwatch

    JPG | 1.08 mb | 2126 x 1492 px

  • The Swiss company Winwatch integrates a tiny security chip from Infineon almost invisibly into its patented sapphire crystal STISS? for turning an analog watch into a digital payment device. The chip enables fast and secured payment transactions by radio frequency within milliseconds. (Copyright: Winwatch)
    The Swiss company Winwatch integrates a tiny security chip from Infineon almost invisibly into its patented sapphire crystal STISS? for turning an analog watch into a digital payment device. The chip enables fast and secured payment transactions by radio frequency within milliseconds. (Copyright: Winwatch)
    Watch_with_STISS_Sapphire_Crystal_Winwatch

    JPG | 769 kb | 2126 x 1631 px

  • Contactless payment solutions require a triad of semiconductor technology, encryption and analog radio technology. Whether card, watch, ring or key fob, the integrated chip plays a central role. (Image: Infineon)
    Contactless payment solutions require a triad of semiconductor technology, encryption and analog radio technology. Whether card, watch, ring or key fob, the integrated chip plays a central role. (Image: Infineon)
    Infineon_Contactless_Payment

    JPG | 378 kb | 2126 x 1503 px