Smart Card – Working and Types

Smart Card is a physical electronic authorization device used to control the data accessing and data manipulation. It is basically a plastic embedded with an integrated circuit. On the smart card either a memory chip or a microprocessor is fabricated to store the data and to connect with the system.

Smart Card working process:

  • Step-1: Smart card is inserted into the card reader which reads the information from the smart card.
  • Step-2: After the card reader reads information from the card it passes the information to the payment system or authentication system.
  • Step-3: There after the payment system or authentication system authenticated the user that whether the provided data matches with the database.
  • Step-4: In last step the payment system or the authentication system does the required task.

Types of Smart Cards:

  1. Contact Smart Card:
    This type of smart cards are embedded with electrical contacts which are used to connect to the card reader where the card is inserted. The electrical contacts are deployed on a conductive gold plated coating on the card surface.

  2. Contact less Smart Card:
    This type of smart card establishes connection with the card reader without any physical contact. It consists of an antenna by means of which it is used to communicate using radio frequency band with the antenna on the reader. It receives power from the reader via the electromagnetic signal.

  3. Dual-interface cards:
    This type of smart card is equipped with both contact less and contact interfaces. This type of card enables secure access to the smart card’s chip with either the contact less or contact smart card interfaces.

  4. Memory based smart card:
    This type of smart cards are embedded with memory circuits. It stores, reads and writes data to a particular location. It is straight memory card which is only used to store data or a protected memory card with a restricted access to the memory and which can be used to write data. It can also be a rechargeable or a disposable card which contains memory units which can be used only once.

  5. Microprocessor based smart card:
    This type of smart cards consist of microprocessor embedded onto the chip in addition to the memory blocks. It also consists of specific sections of files related with a particular function. It allows for data processing and manipulations and can be used for multi functioning.

  6. Hybrid smart card:
    Hybrid smart card embedded with both memory and microprocessor. Two different chips are used for different applications connected to a single smart card based on the different functionality as the proximity chip is used for physical access to prohibited areas while the contact smart card chip is used for sign in authentication.

Applications of Smart Card:
Smart Card is widely used in the following fields:

1. Telecommunications
2. E-commerce 
3. Banking applications
4. Government applications 


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