STMicroelectronics has been certified by MasterCard's CQM (Card Quality Management) scheme as an approved supplier of secure microcontrollers for its chip-based debit and credit cards - the world's first silicon manufacturer to receive the approval. The certificate applies to specific members of ST's ST19 microcontroller family, which is dedicated to smart card applications, and to their production processes at the company's Rousset site in southern France.
CQM is a quality program applied to all stages of MasterCard-branded card production, from chip manufacture to card personalization, and each of the suppliers in the manufacturing chain must be CQM Certified before a card issuer - typically a bank or other financial institution
- can issue cards to its customers under MasterCard's M/Chip 4 program.
Already ST is the number one supplier of secure ICs to the financial sector for card applications, and its ST19 family has a special focus on the financial market. In 2000 the Company was the first in the world to receive security certification under ISO15408 - generally known as the "Common Criteria" - to level EAL4+, for a specific device and its development environment. The MasterCard approval builds on this and other qualifications, and on more than 20 years of experience in the design of IC products to the highest levels of security, with a confirmation of quality, reliability and compatibility with EMV1 terminals worldwide.
The ST19 family members now with specific CQM approval are the ST19XS04 and 08, ST19XL18, ST19WK08, ST19WSC8, and the ST19SF02, 04 and 08. Other devices in the family are in the certification process now.
Smartcards having received CQM approval, feature chip hardware that is interoperable with all terminals meeting EMV specifications; conform to the ISO standards for plastic credit cards; meet MasterCard requirements for artwork and security measures; and are sufficiently robust overall to survive the climatic and mechanical stress conditions likely to occur during their lifetime. Because all of these features are dependent on their production environments, CQM also verifies the quality of the individual manufacturing sites. "The CQM scheme is important in ensuring end-to-end quality for the M/Chip 4 program, ST is totally committed to the scheme as the first approved IC supplier," said Andreas Rschmeier, General Manager of the Financial & ID Division, STMicroelectronics.
ST is a strong supporter of independent certification to internationally recognized standards, which builds confidence for end-users of the technology and minimizes costs for developers in eliminating the need for multiple evaluations for different markets.
In 1996 ST pioneered the use of independent security certifications with the world's first smart card certification, using the ITSEC (Information Technology Security Evaluation Criteria) scheme, a move that led on to the industry's use of formal independent evaluation.