Biometrics Smart Cards
A smart card is a pocket sized plastic card with an embedded chip that can process data, used in industries such as health care, banking, government and biometrics. Smart cards can process data via input and output of information. A smart card is essentially a mini processor.
Smart cards provide identification, authentication, data storage, access to buildings, bank machines, communications & entertainment.
The first smart card technology was used in 1983 in pay phones in France. The international payment brands Visa, MasterCard & Euro pay agreed in 1993 to work together to create the specifications to produce smart cards on their payment cards as in debit and credit cards.
The technology for smart cards is ever increasing and is being used in personal identification and authentication, as in biometrics. Current and future uses of smart cards will be seen in citizen cards, driver’s licenses, patient cards & passports.
Contact smart cards have a contact area containing a small gold plated contact pad. When inserted into a reader, the contact pad or chip makes contact with electrical connectors that can read data from the chip and write information back. The cards do not contain batteries; the power is supplied by the reader.
Smart card readers are used as communication device or medium between the host and the smart card as in a computer, point of sale terminal or mobile phone. Since the chips in smart cards are the same as in mobile phones, the SIM cards in mobile phones are programmed differently and embedded in different shaped PVC.
Contactless smart cards use the chip to communicate with the card reader through RFID (radio frequency identification) induction technology. These cards require only close proximity to an antenna to complete the transaction. These are used when a transaction needs to be completed quickly or hands free such as a mass transit system.
Smart card chips are capable of many kinds of transactions. Besides making purchases from your credit account, debit account or from a stored account value that’s reloadable. The enhanced memory and processing capabilities can far exceed the technology of a magnetic stripe card and can perform many tasks at once.
Smart cards are mostly used in financial applications as in credit cards, debit cards, fuel cards, SIM cards in cell phones, authorization cards for pay television, households pre pay utilities, high security identification, access control cards, public transportation and public phone payment cards.
Smart cards can also be used as electronic wallets. The smart card can be loaded with funds that can be used at various public locations as in parking lots, vending machines or retail outlets. The cryptographic algorithms protect the exchange of money from the card and the merchant. There is no contact with the bank and no exchange of banking info to the accepting machine.
Health cards and other biometrics applications that have been outfitted with a smart card chip can protect a patient’s medical history, provide a secure avenue for their medical records and provide secure access to emergency medical information as well as reducing health care fraud.
Techniques are being developed to provide greater security measures to prevent the tampering of smart cards (which are much safer than traditional swipe cards), and are emerging as the favourite choice of the banking, health care and biometrics industry for storing secured data.
If you are looking for a biometrics smart cards application for your business or institution, please contact one of the solution providers below.