A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card (ICC) is any pocket-sized card with engrafted integrated circuits and are made up of plastic, generally polyvinyl chloride, but sometimes polyethylene terephthalate based polyesters, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polycarbonate.
For telephone calling, electronic cash payments, and other applications, it can be loaded up with data and then periodically refreshed for additional use. Currently or soon, you may be able to use a smart card to:
- Dial a connection on a mobile and be charged on a per-call basis
- Show your identity when logging on to an Internet access provider or to an online bank
- Pay for parking at parking meters or to get on subways, trains, or buses
- Give hospitals or doctors personal data without filling out a form
- Make small purchases at electronic shops on the Web (a kind of cybercash)
As per the global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) standard, the most outstanding application of smart card technology is in Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM), required for all phone systems.
A contactless smart card is a card in which the chip communicates with the card reader through an induction technology similar to that of an RFID (at data rates of 106 to 848 kbit/s), these cards require only close proximity to an antenna to complete a transaction and are often used when transactions must be processed quickly or hands-free, such as on mass transit systems, where a smart card can be used without even removing it from a wallet.
How Smart Cards Work
A smart card holds more information than a magnetic stripe card and it can be programmed for several applications. Smart cards can be designed to be inserted into a slot and read by a special reader or to be read at a distance, like, at a toll booth. Cards can be disposable (as at a trade-show) or reloadable (for most applications).
An industry standard interface between programming and PC hardware in a smart card has been fixed by the PC/SC Working Group, representing Microsoft, IBM, Bull, Schlumberger, and other interested companies.
Types of Smart Cards
- Attendance Cards
- ATM Cards
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- Discount Cards
- Driving License
- Access Cards
- Photo ID Cards
- Loyalty Cards
- National ID Cards
- Payphone Cards
- Scratch Cards
- Warranty Cards
- Zap Cards
Smart cards also works as a credit or ATM cards, fuel cards, mobile phone SIMs, authorization cards for pay television, household utility pre-payment cards, high-security identification and access-control cards, and public transport and public phone payment cards, they are also used as electronic wallets.
The smart card chip can be “loaded” with funds to pay parking meters and vending machines or at various merchants. Cryptographic protocols protect the exchange of money between the smart card and the accepting machine.
In this application, the cards are used for authentication of identity and the smart card will store an encrypted digital certificate issued from the PKI along with any other relevant or needed information about the card holder.
Example: the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Common Access Card (CAC), and the use of various smart cards by many governments as identification cards for their citizens. When combined with biometrics, smart cards can offer two- or three-factor authentication and are not always a privacy-enhancing technology, for the subject carries possibly incriminating information about him all the time, by employing contactless smart cards, that can be read without having to remove the card from the wallet or even the garment it is in, one can add even more authentication value to the human carrier of the cards.
Smart Card Industries
These vendors currently render SmartCard solutions.
Terminal, software test and POS Equipment
Intellect Holdings Ltd
In 2011, it reached 6.1 Billion units, growing at the rate of around 11% over previous year. Though the telecom sector is still the major user of smart cards, other sectors, such as financial services and healthcare are also anticipated to increase the rate of usage.
The global shipments of smart cards are likely to reach approx 8.8 billion units by 2015 from 5.2 billion units in 2009, growing at a CAGR of 9.6% during 2010 – 2015, whereas, growth of awareness among the masses about the benefits of smart cards in access and identity security and growing adoption in sectors like telecommunications, healthcare, and banking have been responsible for the prolong growth of the smart card market and the rising of mobile phones has made telecommunications sector the huge consumer of smart cards globally in the form of SIM (Subscriber Identification Module).
As a smart infrastructure for mobile computing, Smart Card technologies will prove to be the killer application for the networked economy.
In the near future, the traditional magnetic strip card will be substituted and integrated together into a single card by using the multi-application Smart Card, which is known as an electronic purse or wallet in the Smart Card industry. It will be used to carry a lot of sensitive and critical data about the consumers ever more than before when compared with the magnetic strip card.
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