SD Association adds secure NFC support to its smartSD memory cards

Nicole Lee
N. Lee|06.06.13

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SD Association adds secure NFC support to its smartSD memory cards

Though companies like Visa and Device Fidelity have already come up with a way to make NFC payments via microSD card, the SD Association (the standardization body for SD cards) has introduced a spec that opens up that ability to others. It essentially adds the single wire protocol (SWP) as a Secure Element to enable NFC authorizations like mobile payments and identity verification. Now that any of its members can implement the standard to their microSD cards, perhaps some day we can truly replace our wallets with our phones. We've included the press release and a short video demo after the break if you feel like understanding the tech a little better.

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microSD memory cards now support secure smart card value‐added services

SAN RAMON, Calif. – June 5, 2013 – SD Association has opened new markets with the addition of the Single Wire Protocol (SWP) to support Near Field Communications (NFC) features and facilitate the introduction of new business models that allow for a Secure Element to the popular microSD memory card. The smartSD memory card can provide authentication services, moving control of consumers' service applications from the service provider to the consumer. The enhanced smartSD memory card reinforces the value of microSD slotted smartphones, tablets, computers and other consumer electronic devices.

smartSD memory cards can now be manufactured by SD Association members in the popular microSD form factor in SD, SDHC and SDXC capacities. The smartSD memory cards can be purchased by, or issued to, consumers from any service provider including banks, credit card companies, retailers, transportation providers and governments. With smartSD, service providers gain a new way to differentiate their offerings with unique value‐added services, addressing customers of any mobile network operators, device manufacturers and proprietary app stores. Service providers can manage the life cycle of their Secure Element using the same business process used today for other smart cards and credit cards, while mobile network operators gain a new option to support their value added services. Plus, consumers can continue to cost‐effectively expand the storage of their portable devices and shrink the number of rewards, transport, bank or library cards they carry in their wallets by loading those services into their smartSD memory card.

"Completing the enhancement to smartSD marks the achievement of a strategy announced in 2011 to find new markets that would benefit from SD standards," said Brian Kumagai, president of the SD Association. "Adding smart‐chip technology to microSD memory cards gives SD equipped smart phones and phablets new consumer conveniences whether they're connected to the Internet or not. We know consumers want more flexibility to expand their storage needs, and a simple way to participate in a variety of value‐added services offered by a variety of companies and institutions today."

Transforming mobile CE devices into electronic wallets is possible with smartSD memory cards. Securely carrying cashless currency and paperless identification for use in making everyday purchases such as coffee, food, transportation tickets, or in receiving customized subscription services like mobile television, makes smartSD memory cards a necessity rather than a concept.

The ability to manage identity features on CE devices increases consumer control over their personal data compared to the legacy individual card per value‐added service provider approach. It also gives consumers greater security than cloud‐based solutions since the smart‐chip enabled SD memory cards would only be active in a consumer‐authorized device.

smartSD Technology Summary

smartSD memory cards leverage the world‐leading SD architecture and Advanced Security SD (ASSD) standard, allowing transfer ISO 7816 Application Protocol Data Unit commands to for example JavaCardTM applets and responses through the SD bus. The standard adds mechanical contact pads and electrical interface for the SWP between microSD and NFC RF device on the host. smartSD can be personalized, alleviating the need for a trusted service manager (TSM) at launch, but it allows for additional services to be added later. Watch a video, download a presentation and learn more about smartSD at

SD Association

The SD Association is a global ecosystem of more than 1,000 technology companies charged with setting interoperable SD standards. The association encourages the development of consumer electronic, wireless communication, digital imaging and networking products that utilize market‐ leading SD technology. The SD standard is the number one choice for consumers and has earned more than 80 percent of the memory card market with its reliable interoperability and its easy‐to‐ use format. Today, mobile phones, Blu‐ray players, HDTVs, audio players, automotive multimedia systems, handheld PCs, digital cameras and digital video cameras feature SD interoperability. For more information about SDA or to join, please visit the association's web site,

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