Western Australian manufacturer and smart card developer ERG and US-based Motorola recently launched the first commercial application of a single-chip contact/contactless smart card, which is claimed to extend the range of applications for which smart cards can be used. The system was developed under the ERG/Motorola Alliance program.
In contactless mode, the system will be used for transit applications in bus and urban rail networks, ERG said in a statement issued last week. Secure financial and retail applications require the card to be used in contact mode in connection with a smart card reader.
The single-chip card design allows cash to be loaded just once and then used for both contact and contactless applications, ERG said. Ultimately, transit users will be able to reload their smart card with cash or ticket types via their mobile phone or their home telephone.
The system, to be piloted by Western Australian transit operator Bunbury City Transport, will utilise Motorola's M-Smart Venus card which allows multiple applications to run on a single chip. The Motorola card will support ERG's transit application software across the transit hardware and software solution developed by ERG.
The contactless functionality allows riders to simply wave the card in front of a reader rather than inserting it into a slot, hence reducing the transaction time from seconds to a fraction of a second, the companies said.
Future enhancements will provide the opportunity for the contact interface to be integrated with ERG's Ecard electronic purse scheme, enabling a wide range of applications such as road-toll payments and general retail purchases, ERG said in a statement.
Contactless smart cards are already used in Hong Kong's MTR (mass transit railway) urban rail network and its bus system under the Octopus smart card scheme. The ERG/Motorola Alliance last month won a $US78.7 million contract to supply 22,000 readers and 5 million smart cards for Singapore's Mass Rapid Transport and Light Rapid Transport rail networks and for a fleet of 3750 buses.