Powerful, flexible secure microcontrollers from STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, are helping airline loyalty cards grow into their own ecosystems.
Using a secure microcontroller chipset from ST, Qantas, the Australian flag carrier, has deployed its latest loyalty card for passenger and baggage airport check-in as well as for multi-currency cash transactions, which Qantas calls "travel money."
ST has been the card and tag partner for Qantas since 2010 when the airline pioneered a next-generation loyalty card combining contactless check-in and automatic baggage drop linked to RFID tags. The addition of a cash-card function late last year has created a powerful ecosystem of travel and purchasing capabilities in a card. The ecosystem, which addresses objectives for "Simplifying the Airline Business" defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), also includes a partner function targeted to enable airline industry partners to offer more services and features to their combined membership base in the future.
The Qantas Cash-Card is highly flexible as a travel tool, boasting 9 virtual wallets ideally suited to accommodating as many as 9 different currencies for a multi-country trip. Converting and transferring funds among the 9 currencies can be done instantly.
The card uses a unique 2 sub-system design to ensure the security of the user's data and currency: the EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa) runs the cash-card function and the LOYALTY kernel controls the check-in and partner functions. The approach required an enhanced EMV-level certification to ensure and confirm that the card applet maintained card security and EMV operation.
"Together with ABnote, the ST security and control offering to Qantas is very much in synch with the objectives of IATA 2020 vision of streamlining and mastering the flow of people, baggage, goods, and information across the whole air-travel infrastructure," said Francois Guibert, Executive Vice President & President, Greater China & South Asia Region, STMicroelectronics. "ST's technology enhances the travelers' every touch-point in the whole experience."