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What is a Smart Card?

A smart card is a card that is embedded with either a microprocessor and a memory chip or only a memory chip with non-programmable logic. The microprocessor card can add, delete, and otherwise manipulate information on the card, while a memory-chip card (for example, pre-paid phone cards) can only undertake a pre-defined operation.

Smart cards, unlike magnetic stripe cards, can carry all necessary functions and information on the card. Therefore, they do not require access to remote databases at the time of the transaction.

Today, there are three categories of smart cards, all of which are evolving rapidly into new markets and applications:

Integrated Circuit (IC) Microprocessor Cards. Microprocessor cards (also generally referred to by the industry as "chip cards") offer greater memory storage and security of data than a traditional mag stripe card. Chip cards also can process data on the card. The current generation of chip cards has an eight-bit processor, 16KB read-only memory, and 512 bytes of random-access memory. This gives them the equivalent processing power of the original IBM-XT computer, albeit with slightly less memory capacity.
These cards are used for a variety applications, especially those that have cryptography built in, which requires manipulation of large numbers. Thus, chip cards have been the main platform for cards that hold a secure digital identity. Some examples of these cards are:

  • Cards that hold money ("stored value cards")

  • Card that hold money equivalents (for example, "affinity cards")

  • Cards that provide secure access to a network

  • Cards that secure cellular phones from fraud

  • Cards that allow set-top boxes on televisions to remain secure from piracy


Integrated Circuit (IC) Memory Cards. IC memory cards can hold up to 1-4 KB of data, but have no processor on the card with which to manipulate that data. Thus, they are dependent on the card reader (also known as the card-accepting device) for their processing and are suitable for uses where the card performs a fixed operation.
Memory cards represent the bulk of the 600 million smart cards sold last year, primarily for pre-paid, disposable-card applications like pre-paid phone cards. Memory cards are popular as high-security alternatives to mag stripe cards.

Optical Memory Cards. Optical memory cards look like a card with a piece of a CD glued on top - which is basically what they are. Optical memory cards can store up to 4 MB of data. But once written, the data cannot be changed or removed. Thus, this type of card is ideal for record keeping - for example medical files, driving records, or travel histories. Today, these cards have no processor in them (although this is coming in the near future). While the cards are comparable in price to chip cards, the card readers use non-standard protocols and are expensive.
A smartcard is a plastic card containing a small chip that includes a microprocessor and memory. The same size as a credit card, it has gold contacts that allow other devices to communicate with the card. It can contain more data than a magnetic strip and can be programmed to reveal only the relevant information. For example, it could tell a device in a store that there is sufficient balance in an account to pay for a transaction without revealing the balance amount. Encryption techniques secure the data, and the processor allows it to be programmed for different applications.

 

 Smart Card ICs

 

Brand

  Category

     Model 

Specification

 

 

 

 

  ATMEL

CryptoRF  IC    

AT88SC0204CRF

256 Byte 13.56 Mhz

 

 

 AT88SC0404CRF  

512 Bytes  13.56 Mhz

 

 

 AT88SC0808 CRF  

 1 KByte 13.56 Mhz

 

 

AT 88SC3216CRF

 4 KByte, 13.56 MHz

 

 

AT 88SC36416CRF

 8 KByte, 13.56 MHz

 

 

 

 

 

CryptoMemory IC

 AT 88SC0204C

 256 KByte

 

 

AT 88SC0404C

512 KByte

 

 

AT 88SC0808C

1 KByte

 

 

AT 88SC3216C 

 4 KByte

 

 

AT 88SC12816C

16 KByte

 

 

AT 88SC25616C

32 KByte

 

 

 

 

 

Serial EEPROM IC

AT240C02

  256 Byte

 

 

AT240C04

512 Byte

 

 

AT240C16

 2 KByte

 

 

AT240C64

 8 KByte

 

 

AT240C128

16 KByte

 

 

AT240C256

32 KByte

 

 

 

 

PHILIPS

Contactless IC & Inlay

Mifare Ultralight U1

64 byte, 13.56 MHz

 

 

Mifare Standard S50

1 Kbyte, 13.56 MHz

 

 

Mifare Standard S70

4 Kbyte, 13.56 MHz

 

 

Mifare DESFire D40

4 Kbyte, 13.56 MHz

 

 

I-CODE ICS30

64 Byte, 13.56MHz

 

Reader IC

Mifare RC500

ISO 14443A

 

 

 

 

INFINEON

Dataarrier IC

SLE  5532 / 5542

256Byte

 

 

SLE  4432 /4442

256Byte

 

 

SLE  5518 / 5528

1 KByte

 

 

SLE  4418 / 4428

1 KByte

 

 

 

 

 

Telecom IC

SLE  4436

221 bit

 

 

SLE  5536

237 bit

 

 

SLE  6636

237 bit

 

 

SLE  7736

237 bit

 

 

 

 

 

Contactless Ic Inlay

SLE  66R35

1KBbyte, 13.56MHz

 

 

 

 

EM

Read-only Contactless IC

EM4100

64 bit, 125 kHz

 

 

 

 

INSIDE

Contactless IC

PicoPass 16KS

2 KByte

 

 

PicoPass 32KS

4 KByte

 

 

 

 

Card Equipments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brand

Category

Model

 

ACs

Contact type smart card Reader/writer

ACS

 

 

Contactless type smart card Reader/writer

 ACS

 

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