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[CES 2023 Best of Innovation Award Honoree] Biometric Card IC that will change the way we pay

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▲ Moonkyu Song, Gwanbon Koo, Kyungduck Seo, and Ji-Soo Chang from the left.
CES 2023 is one of the world’s most influential technology events that shine a spotlight on how technology helps people tackle the world’s most pressing problems. When it comes to payment or identification, strong security technologies are in demand to solve fraudulent authentication. For such reason, Samsung’s new Biometric Card IC was named an honoree of the CES 2023 Best of Innovation Awards in Cybersecurity & Personal Privacy category.
Samsung Biometric Card IC
Samsung Biometric Card IC
Samsung’s Biometric Card IC S3B512C combines a fingerprint sensor, Secure Element, and Secure Processor in a single chip, creating a solution with enhanced security and performance. Enabled by Samsung’s proprietary fingerprint authentication algorithm and anti-spoofing technology, the first-of-its-kind all-in-one biometric security solution paves the way for more efficient and affordable biometric card designs in the future. The one-chip solution to bring biometric card into mainstream adoption ID verification is now becoming essential for payment products, and there is increasing demand for more robust verification solutions to guard against identity theft. “Against this backdrop, we started looking into the possibility of developing payment products in a way that generated synergy by combining Samsung’s advanced semiconductor technology and robust security IPs,” explained Gwanbon Koo, Vice President of Security & Power Product Development Team. With diverse enabling technologies such as sensors, security, fingerprint recognition algorithms, and packaging, Samsung is well-positioned to create products that deliver on the need for enhanced security.
Difference between the current card solution and Samsung's all-in-one fingerprint security IC
Difference between the current card solution and Samsung's all-in-one fingerprint security IC
Samsung’s payment product design focused on addressing the main obstacle facing the biometric payment card market – BOM (Bills Of Material) costs. By creating a one-chip solution, Samsung was able to save on costs without sacrificing functionality. Ji-Soo Chang of Security & Power Product Development Team explains, “lowering the production cost of biometrics cards requires a share reduction in component costs. The idea was that if a single, integrated chip could deliver Samsung’s design capabilities, it would add to price competitiveness as well as security, as chip-to-chip communication protocols could not be monitoring from the outside.” A one-of-a-kind security solution: The outcome of technological integration There were several considerations that the team navigated during the product development process to ensure the new solution would have a competitive advantage in the market. To set itself apart from the competition, Koo said, “the goal was to create a one-of-a-kind product. We believed that developing a one-chip solution would help Samsung differentiate itself and secure an early lead in the next-generation payment market.” The single-chip solution integrates Samsung’s proprietary technologies, such as fingerprint sensor and customized software, to create the industry’s first all-in-one security chip solution for biometric card. As Koo describes it, this type of “one-chip solution is unprecedented, and no other rivals have the entire package of technologies deployed in this solution.” Cost was another element that Samsung focused on to gain a competitive edge. “As cost competitiveness was the key to replacing existing credit cards, the emphasis was on securing price competitiveness, especially in packaging,” Seo explained. Finally, Kyungduck Seo of Security & Power Product Team highlighted the team’s hard work to ensure the all-in-one solution provided a competitive library of fingerprints and secure verification capability. While the product features a collection of technologies, Seo points out the fake fingerprint detection function as a key differentiator. He said, “the product features anti-spoofing technology to detect fake fingerprints made up of different materials and thus, has a superb advantage from the perspective of ID verification. This is a key selling point of Samsun’s Biometric Card IC.”
Credit card with Samsung's biometric card IC one-chip solution
Credit card with Samsung's biometric card IC one-chip solution
However, the addition of fingerprint verification capabilities increased power consumption. Chang addressed how the team handled concerns around energy efficiency by saying, “in the existing contactless payment environment, chips are wirelessly powered. We ensured that the product would function fast and accurately, yet in an energy-efficient way, which is especially important in today’s environment.” Top-notch security designed from bottom-up Developing the chip solution came with technological hurdles, many of which were rooted in the fact that this is a first-of-its kind all-in-one biometric security solution. The team was initially tasked with designing the product and defining the specifications without a clear benchmark. To describe the process, Moonkyu Song of Design Platform Development Team explained, “we needed to forecast market developments a few years ahead of time to define the specifications. In the early stage of the product development, it was not easy to secure VoC from clients as we stood alone in making all the predictions and decisions.” Chang recalled the process of developing a new concept product as being “like exploring uncharted territory. The most challenging part was to design a system architecture in a way that achieves performance targets, and the process of devising a one-chip package was not without trials and errors.” He added that despite the uncertainty that came along with the new concept, there was an enthusiasm to commercialize the product, which accelerated “the development of prototypes with a payment card assembly company. Through this process, we collaborated with clients on the OS front and carried out various performance tests and reliability evaluations for about a year as part of stabilization efforts.” Having successfully overcome these challenges, the team launched a product that was well-received by the market and paved the way for Samsung to become a standard-bearer in the payment IC market. Get ready for a shift in generation of payment The superior performance and design efficiency of Samsung new payment solution has disrupted what was once the standard for the industry and created a new avenue of market growth. As Koo stated, “the product has the potential to stimulate the payments market by increasing the penetration of biometric cards.” From the start, the goal was to deliver products that are more cost-effective and capable of processing payments faster. As we look to the future, “we will continue to reduce chip size and shorten the payment processing speed, which is currently compliant to industrial standard,” said Chang. Although competitive pressure is likely to continue to increase, Koo explains, “the product will help Samsung position itself as the first mover in the next-generation payment IC market.” This is a milestone for Samsung. Supported by its leadership and expertise, Samsung is on a path to continue expanding its business with new products. Koo went on to say, “most of all, we will contribute to expanding the market for biometric cards, presenting completely new payment experiences.”

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