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Working and Types of Smart Card

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  • Last Updated : 30 Sep, 2022
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Smart Card is a physical electronic authorization device used to control data accessing and data manipulation. It is basically plastic embedded with an integrated circuit. On the smart card, either a memory chip or a microprocessor is fabricated to store the data and connect with the system. 

Smart Card working process:

  1. Step-1: Smart card is inserted into the card reader which reads the information from the smart card.
  2. Step-2: After the card reader reads information from the card it passes the information to the payment system or authentication system.
  3. Step-3: Thereafter the payment system or authentication system authenticated the user that whether the provided data matches with the database.
  4. Step-4: In the 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 card is 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. Contactless Smart Card: This type of smart card establishes a connection with the card reader without any physical contact. It consists of an antenna by means of which it is used to communicate using a radio frequency band with the antenna on the reader. It receives power from the reader via an electromagnetic signal.
  3. Dual-interface cards: This type of smart card is equipped with both contactless and contact interfaces. This type of card enables secure access to the smart card’s chip with either the contactless or contact smart card interfaces.
  4. Memory-based smart card: This type of smart card is embedded with memory circuits. It stores read and writes data to a particular location. It is a straight memory card that is only used to store data or a protected memory card with restricted access to the memory and which can be used to write data. It can also be rechargeable or a disposable card which contains memory units that can be used only once.
  5. Microprocessor-based smart card: This type of smart card consists of a microprocessor embedded in the chip in addition to the memory blocks. It also consists of specific sections of files related to 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.

Benefits of Smart Card:

  1. Smart cards improve the convenience and security of any transaction.
  2. They provide tamper-proof storage of user and account identity. Tamper-proof storage here means that if the card is being accessed by some unauthorized user then it is easily detected.
  3. Smart card systems have proven to be more reliable than other machine-readable cards, like magnetic strips and barcodes.
  4. Smart cards also provide vital components of system security for the exchange of data throughout virtually any type of network.
  5. The costs to manage password resets for an organization or enterprise are very high, thus making smart cards a cost-effective solution in these environments.

Applications of Smart Card: 

Smart Card is widely used in the following fields:

  1. Telecommunications
  2. E-commerce 
  3. Banking applications
  4. Government applications 
  5. Information Technology.
  6. Transportation.
  7. Educational Institutes.
  8. Computer and Network Security.

Advantages of Smart Card:

The following are the advantages of smart card. They are

  1. It provides high security and privacy.
  2. Reliability.
  3. Time saving.
  4. It is easy to use.
  5. Most of the application provides 24/7 support. So, it is always available.
  6. Provides more flexibility.
  7. Smart cards are small and light-weighted.
  8. Memory capacity is higher in many smart cards like memory cards.
  9. Prevents user from fraud surroundings.

Disadvantages of Smart Card:

The following are the disadvantages of smart card. They are

  1. If smart card is lost or data is theft, it will lead to serious issues.
  2. Some applications provide lack of support to the user.
  3. Some enterprises provide charges to the user for using the smart cards.
  4. Some smart cards are dependent on electricity. If there is no electricity then we will not be able to use the smart cards.
  5. Some smart cards are bit costlier like credit cards etc.
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