Get Smart! – An Introduction to Smart Cards

A smart card is a type of technology that embeds data into a plastic card that resembles a credit card. The smart card however is very different from the standard credit card that has a magnetic stripe on one side. The big difference between the two types of card is that the smart card actually contains a microprocessor chip that can store and process data. It is in fact a small computer.

Another big difference between today’s credit and debit cards and smart cards is that you will only need one smart card for all of your accounts. A single card could for example contain several different credit and debit cards from different banks (assuming the banks can agree on card standards), as well as personal data like your blood type and allergies.

Smart cards are a very popular technology in Europe, where people use them for banking and health insurance among other applications. The first smart cards were used as a way for people to pay for phone calls. Now they visitekaartje met NFC chip have progressed to more extensive uses. Imagine having a card that contains all of your health records? You would never have to fill out a doctor’s form again answering all of those questions because your doctor would have complete access to your records through the smart card technology.

Smart cards are currently being used to buy things on the internet, pay for bus, train and subway tickets, buy parking meter time, use it for banking identification, store loyalty programs, and for making gas purchases at gas stations. There are many more possibilities for how the smart card can be used. However smart cards are not widely used in North America, but it looks as if that might be changing. Point of sales systems – POS – in Canada and the US have already made changes to accommodate debit cards. The next step will be to include the capability to process smart cards.

Security is always an issue where credit cards are concerned. Although the smart card contains a lot of personal information it is much more secure than a simple credit card. The magnetic strip coding on a credit card is just not a secure way to encode information. Criminals can easily obtain equipment that allows them to read, change and delete the information contained in the magnetic stripe. The smart card on the other hand is password protected. In fact you can have multiple passwords for different uses of the same card.

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