Smart cards look exactly like credit cards, but hidden beneath the surface is something completely different. These cards contain embedded microprocessors beneath gold contact pads that appear to serve the same purpose as the usual magnetic stripes on the backs of credit cards.
This microprocessor is an extra level of security that other credit cards simply don’t have. The card can literally communicate to the host computer like a compact disk would with a CD player. This allows the data to be easily accessed, updated, or deleted with the proper technology.
Smart cards are quite popular in Europe and have become widely-used in Canada. The country has even implemented this technology into loyalty card and gift certificate programs. Around the world, more than one hundred countries have swapped out coin-operated pay phones for phones that use smart cards.
Canada has become a major manufacturing center for smart card technology. Some of the leading manufacturers are ABnote North America, Allcard Limited, Giesecke & Devrient, Imprimerie Graphica, and Quatro Card Technology. To look up any of these smart card manufacturers in Canada, Canada 411 is your best source.
With smart cards being used to pay for items in vending machines, to authenticate users on personal computers, and increase banking security, the future for this technology is incredibly bright.