Smart Card: How It Has Revolutionized The Process of Making Payments?
In today’s times, you get a large number of options while making the payment for a product you buy or a service you avail of. While one has witnessed the arrival of several innovative payment-making processes in the last couple of years, the advent of the smart card payment system has truly changed the game.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Smart Card?
- 2 Use of Smart Cards
- 3 Categories of Smart Cards
- 4 Benefits of Using a Smart Card
What is a Smart Card?
A smart card can be best described as a physical card featuring an integrated chip that functions as a reliable security token. The size of a smart card is almost the same as a credit card or a driver’s license.
Most smart cards are made out of either plastic or metal. A reader gets connected to a smart card via a short-range wireless connectivity system like near-field communication and radio-frequency identification or through direct physical contact.
The chip that you come across on a smart card is either an embedded memory chip or a microcontroller. Smart cards use an encryption method to secure in-memory data or information. They are known to be tamper-resistant as well. Because of these reasons, you feel a sense of security while using smart cards.
Use of Smart Cards
While smart cards are used for several different purposes, they are largely seen as an alternative to conventional credit cards and other popular payment options. A smart card is also referred to as a contactless payment cardowing to the way it has been designed and the manner in which it is supposed to be operated.
Smart cards are designed with the purpose of carrying out transactions fast and in a secure manner. Apart from being used in the form of credit cards and payment cards, these also work as government identification and corporate cards. In recent times, smart cards have also been used as transit fare payment cards.
Categories of Smart Cards
Smart cards are divided into different categories based on multiple factors like how a particular card reads or writes information or data, the kind of capabilities it has and the chip used in it. Before you start using a smart card, you should figure out the kind of card you will actually benefit from.
When you use a contactless card, you just need to keep it close to a card reader to be discovered or read. While using this particular card, direct contact is not required. Along with the reader, the card also features an antenna and has the capability to use radio frequencies to communicate through a contactless link.
Contact Smart Cards
When it comes to the most popular smart cards, contact smart cards top the list. These cards are activated or used with the help of a smart card reader that is directly linked to the conductive contact plate present on the card’s surface. Along with the commands, card status and data are transferred with the help of these physical contact points.
Hybrid Smart Cards
As the name suggests, a hybrid smart card is one which features multiple technologies. It comes equipped with an embedded processor chip that can be accessed with the help of an RFID chip and a contact reader. The chip can be used to carry out different activities or applications. While you can use the proximity chip for physical access control, the contact chip proves to be useful for SSO authentication.
Microprocessor Smart Cards
These cards feature a microprocessor that is engrafted on the chip. The functionality of these cards is also driven by the presence of memory blocks. These cards could also have different sections featuring files that are created to fulfill a particular function or activity. The information present in these files and the allocated memory is managed with the help of a smart card OS.
There are some smart cards that feature more than one interface. A dual-interface card comes armed with both contact and contactless interfaces. When you use this card, you can be sure about gaining access to the chip of the smart card in a secure manner. This card is preferred by a large number of people because of its versatile features.
Memory Start Cards
Memory smart cards are the ones that feature only memory chips and are capable of storing, reading and writing data. While the data present on these cards could be altered or overwritten, you must remember that the card cannot be programmed. These are read-only cards and can only be used to save different types of information like a password, PIN number and public key.
Benefits of Using a Smart Card
Smart cards offer a plethora of benefits and that’s one of the reasons why they are so popular. Apart from offering high utility, they also offer a strong sense of security. Once you start using smart cards, you realize making payments is easier than you could have imagined.
Once you store a certain amount of information or data on a smart card, you can delete, modify or alter it as and when you wish to. Smart cards prove to be one of the best options for storing information that is not meant to be reproduced. The good thing is that the data and applications that you save can be updated with the help of secure channels.
As compared to magnetic stripe cards, the kind of security offered by smart cards is much stronger. The reason behind this is that they feature microprocessors that have the potential to process information without using remote connections. Smart cards, which are designed as ‘memory-only’, also work better than conventional mag stripe cards in this regard.
Smart cards have truly revolutionized the payment card industry. While the industry has extended its support to the card, it has also been accepted in a huge way by individuals who were looking for a new method,
This is convenient and modern in equal measures,to make payments. One of the biggest selling points of a smart card is that enables you to carry out a wide range of activities.