Smart cards allow information to be shared quickly, easily and securely. The portable storage method is a card made from plastic and usually the size of a credit card with an embedded microprocessor inside. There are two main types of smart cards out there, both are different in the way the information is shared. These two types are contact cards and contactless cards.
These two types are also called chip cards because the microprocessor is covered in many panels of gold foil and looks like a small chip on the card. These cards are sometimes included on the plastic card the size of a credit card, but these smart cards can also be much smaller like the SIM cards found in cell phones, particularly in Europe.
Contactless cards use a radio frequency between the reader and the card to share information. This means the cards only have to be in proximity of the reader to complete transactions. An example of this type of card is an entry card carried by users to get into a building that is simply swiped in front of a reader for a user to gain access to the building.
Contact cards are the most common type of smart cards. They too have the foil covered chip. They work because electrical contacts connect when the card is inserted into a reader like when an ATM card is put in an ATM machine. Contact cards are found in many applications, like in credit cards, although most credit cards in the United States do not use this type of technology. United States credit cards usually use magnetic stripe technology.
Smart cards are an easy way to share information and allow users to carry a great deal of secure date in a pocket or wallet. There are more than one type of smart card.