In the world of NFC payments, one of the big questions has been who will control the secure element, the chip that stores payment credentials and personal data. Will it be the carrier or the company providing the mobile operating system?

Now semiconductor-maker INSIDE Secure may have a solution. The company has announced the introduction of the VaultSEcure IC, a new secure element that allows multiple third parties to independently install and control their own applets within the same secure element. The company has also introduced Secure Memory Swap technology, which will let original equipment manufacturers manage the storage of SE applets within the chip.

Pierre Garnier, EVP for INSIDE Secure's NFC and payment division, called the new SE an industry milestone — the first device to enable secure element co-ownership and solve control issues that have stymied the rapid rollout of mobile commerce applications.

"With the availability of the VaultSEcure IC, smartphone manufacturers, mobile network operators and other trusted third parties can co-own the SE and install, personalize and administer their own open- or closed-loop payment, access control, transit, loyalty or other secure applets," Garnier said.

The INSIDE Secure chip comes pre-loaded with certified branded applications for payments or building access from companies like MasterCard and SeureKey, the company said.

INSIDE Secure's new Secure Memory Swap technology offers virtually unlimited storage for applet libraries, the company said. It uses advanced cryptographic techniques that allow less frequently used applets to be stored securely in host memory, migrating back to the SE only as needed based on data such as location or time.

To illustrate the application of its Secure Memory Swap technology, INSIDE Secure said that a consumer traveling from New York to Paris would be able to swap the transit fare applet for the New York  Subway with that for the Paris Metro based on the new location.

For more stories like this, visit the NFC/Contactless research center.

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