Smart Cards

Smart Cards

There are a wide variety of contact and contactless smart cards currently in use. The Terms "Smart Chip Card, IC Card, and Smart Card" all refer to the same type of card. Smart cards have a chip embedded in them, which can be programmed. Smart cards can store over 100 times more information than a magnetic stripe and they can be reprogrammed to add, delete or rearrange data.

Smart cards were invented in Europe in the 1970s and were in wide use in Western Europe by the early 80s. Smart cards are an easy, inexpensive way for European businesses to do off-line transaction verification. The reason for off-line verification is preferred is the high cost of telecommunications throughout Europe. The United States has been slow to implement smart cards because it would require replacing the widely installed magnetic stripe card reading equipment with smart card readers. The cost of having the current magnetic stripe readers "on-line" via telecommunications is relatively inexpensive in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world.

The second type of smart card contains both a microprocessor as well as memory. These cards can store massive amounts of information, plus the microprocessor enables the card to make it's own decisions regarding the information stored.

Digital plastic card printers can address both types of chips since they all offer an optional smart card contact station. The printer brings the card into the contact station and then passes programming signals from an external programmer to encode the smart chip.

Contactless and Proximity Cards

Contactless smart cards and proximity cards utilize various short and long-range RFID technologies to write and read. Many card printers print on these kinds of smart cards. Encoding or programming the electronic devices on these cards is typically accomplished by an external encoding or programming device, but contactless smart card encoders integrated into the card printer are becoming increasingly available.

Please contact us for a free needs analysis and to learn more about PlastiCard's line of Smart card secure access control systems, supplies and services.


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