smart card

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smart card,

small device that resembles a credit card but contains an embedded microprocessormicroprocessor,
integrated circuit containing the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry required to interpret and execute instructions from a computer program. When combined with other integrated circuits that provide storage for data and programs, often on a single
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 to store and process information. Magnetic-stripe cards, which store a very small amount of information (most typically used to identify the owner) and have no processing capability of their own, can be thought of as primitive smart cards. A true smart card contains 80 or more times as much memory, and the microprocessor allows information to be read and updated every time the card is used. Contact cards, which must be swiped through card readers, are less prone to misalignment and being misread but tend to wear out from the contact; contactless cards, which are read by using radio-frequency identificationradio-frequency identification
(RFID), a technology that uses radio waves to transmit data and uniquely identify an animal, person, or thing. An RFID system typically consists of a tag and a reader.
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 technology, can be used in mobile applications, such as collecting tolls from cards as drivers pass through toll booths without stopping.

Developed in 1973 by the Frenchman Roland Marino, the smart card was not introduced commercially until 1981, when the French state telephone system adopted it as an integral part of its phonecard network. This led to widespread use in France and then Germany, where patients have health records stored on the cards. A large-scale pilot program involving 40,000 people and 1,000 retail merchants and using smart cards as stored value, or electronic purse, cards—in which the card contains a stored monetary value that is decremented with each purchase and incremented by loading additional value onto the card through automated teller machinesautomated teller machine
(ATM), device used by bank customers to process account transactions. Typically, a user inserts into the ATM a special plastic card that is encoded with information on a magnetic strip or computer chip.
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 (ATMs) or public telephones—was initiated in Swindon, England, in 1995. Smaller pilots were held in Canberra, Australia; in the Atlanta, Ga., metropolitan area in conjunction with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games; in New York City; and in Guelph, Ontario. All of these achieved only limited customer acceptance and were shut down by 1998. Another major problem is that these and other smart card ventures did not have a common technology. The development of the EMV standards for credit and debit cards in the 1990s, and the subsequent widespread adoption of these standards has led to global acceptability, but the United States did not see widespread adoption of the technology until 2015. The EMV chip is used with a signature or personal identification number (PIN), with the preference for signature or PIN varying by country; many EMV smart cards also have a magnetic strip for backward compatibility.

As memory capacity, computing power, and data encryption capabilities of the microprocessor increase, smart cards are envisioned as replacing such commonplace items as cash, airline and theater tickets, credit and debit cards, toll tokens, medical records, and keys. Suggested government use of a single smart card to replace driver's licenses, passports, social security, welfare, and health documentation, and the like has caused a debate concerning the civil liberty implications of such uses of the smart card, but cards with some or many of these capabilities have been adopted in a number of countries.

smart card

[′smärt ‚kärd]
(computer science)
A plastic card in which is embedded a microprocessor that is usually programmed to hold information about the card holder or user. Also known as chip card.

smart card

a plastic card with integrated circuits used for storing and processing computer data

smart card

Any plastic card (like a credit card) with an embedded integrated circuit for storing information.

Smart cards are being incorporated into soldier's dog-tags and used to store hospital patients' medical records. This way they are always instantly accessible.

Other uses are as a form of token in banking systems. You could store electronic money on the card or less valuable tokens such as those given away by petrol companies which you collect to exchange for free gifts at a later date. The idea being that one smart card is easier to carry around than a multitude of paper tokens.

news:alt.technology.smartcards

smart card

A credit card or ID card that contains a chip. When inserted into a reader (contact card) or held within a few inches of the reader (contactless), data are transferred to a central computer. Also called a "chip card," a smart credit or debit card is more secure than cards with a magnetic stripe, because it generates a unique one-time code for each transaction that is impossible to replicate with counterfeit cards. Smart cards can also be programmed to self-destruct if the wrong password is entered too many times. As a financial transaction card, it can be loaded with digital money.

Contactless Smart Cards Are Like Passive RFID
Like an RFID tag used to track merchandise and vehicles, a contactless smart card is also energized by receiving a radio frequency (RF) transmitted over the air. However, the smart card uses a microcontroller that can provide authentication, encryption and financial processing, whereas RFID tags generally contain only identification data. See EMV, NFC, magnetic stripe, PIV, SIM card, RFID, Java Card and FeliCa.


A Smart Contact Card
Cards can have multiple methods of data transfer. This card uses a barcode, and the gold pins make contact with a card reader. (Image courtesy of Smart Card Alliance, www.smartcardalliance.org)







The Chip Inside
The tiny chip is found on the back of the contact sheet. In this example, five of the contacts are actually connected to the chip.







Contact and Contactless
This Verifone reader accepts both chip-based credit and debit cards (arrow) as well as contactless payments via smartphones (see NFC). (Image courtesy of Verifone Systems Inc., www.verifone.com)







The Smarty Reader
Years ago, Smarty allowed a smart card to be read in a floppy disk drive. Smarty emulated the magnetic field of a rotating disk. (Image courtesy of Fischer International Systems Corporation.)
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