Working and Types of Smart Card

What is a Smart Card?

A smart card is a compact microprocessor-based device the size of a credit card that stores and processes data. Smart cards have mostly supplanted conventional magnetic cards since they can store more data and perform more functions. Smart cards are now used in various industries, including retail, public transportation, and security.

Smart card manufacturers can put small circuits and circuitry on a printed card using modern technologies such as electron beam lithography. As data storage technology progresses, manufacturers will continue to increase the functionality of smart cards by working with nanoscale components of these cards.

It is feasible to reverse-engineer smart cards and evaluate the solid-state design of smart card layers where chemical doping provides specific data functionality. Consumers like the convenience of smart cards, which are now used in billions around the world.

Types of Smart Cards

Let us now take a look at some of the types of smart cards available.

Contact Smart Card

This is the most prevalent type of smart card on the market. This includes the majority of credit cards, ATM cards, and SIM cards.

Smart contact cards function by putting them into a card reader. The contact pad has a memory chip that stores information, can read anything printed on the card, and allows the user to carry out any transaction he desires.

Because they must come into contact with a medium before working, they are termed smart cards. In this example, the medium is any digital interface, such as a smart card reader, that permits information to be transmitted from the card to the reader.

Contactless Smart Card

It's a contactless smart card, which means you don't have to make physical touch with an interface to use it. There are no card readers or digital interfaces in contactless smart cards s to establish a connection and subsequent transaction. These cards use radio frequencies or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to establish a wireless connection between the card and the location where it will be used.

A typical example is a proximity contactless smart card. The proximity card only has a tiny amount of memory and can only be read, not written to. This means you can't save anything on the card and can only use the configuration to access restricted areas, devices, or a building.

If you want to get into a building, all you have to do is flash your card at the interface on the automatic security door, and your data will be accessible and validated.

Hybrid Cards

Hybrid cards combine the best features of both types of cards in this category. These cards can be used as both a contact and a contactless smart ca depending on the situation.

To function in such dual capacities, they have both technologies incorporated in them. These cards are scarce and belong to a separate category.

Cryptographic Smart Cards

For single sign-on, cryptographic smart cards are frequently utilized. Cryptographic hardware, such as RSA and DSA, is found in the most advanced smart cards.

Working of Smart Cards

It communicates with the host computer or controller through a card reader, which reads data from the card and sends it to the host computer or controller.

It's used to keep track of data access and manipulation. It's usually a plastic card that comes with an integrated circuit. This smart card is made with either a memory chip or a microprocessor to store data and interface with the system.

A smart card does not work independently; an embedded memory chip with a contact pad is included. When the contact pad is separated from the smart card, it loses its functionality.

The contact pad of this card reader comes into touch with the card reader and does the processing. As a result, it assists you with transactions via the Point of Sale (POS) instead of another transaction medium. The following phases make up the majority of the working process of a smart card.

  • It's inserted into the card reader, which reads the information from the card.

  • When the card reader receives the data from the card, it sends it to the payment system; otherwise, the data is sent to the authentication system.

  • Thereafter, the payment system, which is also an authentication system, verifies if the information provided by the card matches the data stored in the database.

  • Finally, the payment system performs the required task unless the authentication system is used.