Giesecke & Devrient says it has given Near Field Communication payments a significant boost by developing a SIM card on which several NFC applications can operate simultaneously.

The Munich, Germany-based technology provider this week introduced a new card in its SkySIM CX line of cards used for electronic payments, ticketing applications and customer loyalty programs.

“This new development is going to get a lot of love from the payments companies like Discover, American Express and others because prior to this, the mobile network operators could block them out of the SIM card,” says Al Pascual, senior analyst for Javelin Strategy & Research.

In addition to offering their own applications, network operators can set up third-party applications in secure areas of the SIM card known as “containers,” G&D says. Service providers can run their own applications in these containers through a fee paid to the network provider, the company states.

Such an arrangement could result in the payments industry moving “another step closer” to widespread adoption of NFC, G&D says.

Because the new SIM card allows more than one NFC app to run at the same time, it could eliminate any squabbles over which entity should have control of the secure element, Pascual says.

“Think of the SIM card like a piece of real estate, and the owner of that real estate controls the transaction,” Pascual adds.

Verizon Wireless has staged a fight over a secure module the past two years that caught the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, citing security concerns when not allowing Google Wallet access to its wireless network. Verizon is part of the joint venture offering the Isis Mobile Wallet, along with T-Mobile and AT&T Mobility.

G&D’s new development “makes it easier for everyone to get a piece of the pie,” Pascual says.

The new SIM — which stands for "subscriber identification module" — will allow network operators to expand mobile commerce services for banks, public transportation authorities and other service providers, G&D states in a press release. It also meets secure payments requirements from EMVCo, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, allowing its use in systems such as ExpressPay, PayPass and payWave.

The new cards allow consumers to own two or more accounts on their smartphones, allowing them to decide “on the spur of the moment” which one to use for a particular payment transaction, G&D says. As such, the SIM card will provide more than “just a means of using their mobile device as a public transit ticket or loyalty card,” the company adds.

In addition, devices equipped with the new SIM card can also serve as personal identification for access to a company, or other secure, premises. The SIM card will operate with 2G, 3G and LTE networks.

"The outstanding feature of the new SIM card is not only its functionality but also its security,” Axel Deininger, group senior vice president at G&D, states in the release.

“The card has been tested and approved by EMVCo as an integral unit, and not a single weak point has been detected."

SIM card security became even more of a focus at G&D this past summer, after the company learned of potential hacking into SIM cards through the research of mobile security expert Karsten Nohl in Germany. At that time, G&D stated it would make the proper adjustments to its card security, based on Nohl’s findings.

"This latest addition to our NFC portfolio enables us to offer network operators a complete secure package comprising hardware, software, and services, in the form of SIM cards, a mobile wallet, and trusted service management services," Deininger says.

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