Active Credit Card

ASIC Success Story


Many consumers tend to carry multiple credit cards as well as several rewards cards.  An active credit card can eliminate the need for multiple cards by providing an electronic engine inside a single card that plays the right account data when swiped.

By pressing a button on the card, consumers can select different payment options from a single physical card, allowing them to only carry a single active card.  This novel “computer-in-a-card” technology garnered a Best of Innovation Award for Security Technologies at CES 2018.

Close up of credit cards.
Layout image of active credit card chip.

Custom Solution from CSS

The ASIC for the powered credit card contains a dual channel signal conditioner that drives the appropriate outputs to mimic a traditional magnetic card swipe.  An inductance sensor indicates when the card is near the magnetic reader head and triggers when the card should activate and play the account data.

The F2F (i.e., Frequency, 2x Frequency) encoded signals are created by integrating current onto trimmed capacitors and then converting the triangle waves into sine waves using exponential voltage limiters.  A final current to voltage converter is the output driver that connects to off-chip current sense resistors.

Key Features

  • Dual Channel Integrators
  • Integrated Exponential Voltage Limiters
  • Dual Channel Output Drivers
  • +/- 2% Accurate LDO Voltage Regulator
  • Nonvolatile Memory (EEPROM) for trim settings
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