ST Releases NFC Chip Helping Readers Distinguish Between Cards and Smartphones

The new NFC chip supports active waveshaping and heartbeat detection and helps ensure devices comply with EMVCo 3.1 specifications

ST Releases NFC Chip

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STMicroelectronics released a new product – NFC chip that supports active waveshaping and heartbeat detection. The chip enables developers and manufacturers to create more efficient contactless payment solutions and ensure POS devices comply with EMVCo 3.1 specifications.

The ST25R3916B chip is high performance NFC universal device supporting NFC initiator, NFC target, NFC reader and NFC card emulation modes when applicable. Its heartbeat detection function helps NFC reader identify whether it is interacting with a card or a smartphone.

This functionality is particularly useful in wireless chargers, explains ST. Thus, the firm claims Qi charger can potentially destroy regular NFC cards if it mistakenly takes them for a phone and tries to send a charge.

The patented heartbeat technology, instead, allows the reader to rapidly distinguish between the two types of payment means by more precisely analysing behaviours after communication ends.

In addition, the chip’s active waveshaping capabilities provide finer settings to tune the signal and adjust it to match PICC (Proximity Integrated Circuit Cards) references by limiting undershoots. ST clarifies that this feature enables a faster and more efficient coupling of the reader and the card.

Fine-tuning the antenna is critical in the modern payment acceptance technologies as poor performance can prevent a product from receiving proper certifications.

Therefore, ST also developed a graphical user interface to optimise workflows and help teams visually select registers that shape the signal and manage both the undershoot and overshoot patterns.

Thanks to finer settings, the whole process becomes faster, taking a few minutes. This way, ST tool reduces friction in the early prototyping stages.

The software is available upon request.

The product is released simultaneously with a ST25R3916B-EMVCo reference design that incorporates the ST25R3916 chip and “greatly facilitates the creation of the contactless system of a payment terminal by offering a hardware layout and a code example for an EMVCo 3.1 level stack.”

The NFC market constantly introduces innovations to improve and customise the payment process for all participants. We have recently reported that NFC testing company Cilab has improved its high-speed tester with a new feature that enables NFC terminal manufacturers to test a device’s RF field by making it visible.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.