Smart Cards, or chip cards, are payment cards that incorporate a specialized microcontroller and a secure memory. Most smart cards connect to a smart card reader using eight pins (on the surface of the card). Some smart card devices have an embedded antenna and come in different package sizes
On the majority of cellular telephone networks, a subscriber uses a smart card commonly called a SIM card to activate the telephone. The card authenticates the user and provides encryption keys for digital voice transmission. When fitted with Java Card technology, SIM cards can also provide transactional services such as remote banking and ticketing. Hundreds of millions of SIM cards based on Java Card technology are already powering innovative services in cell phones.
Other applications are available in a wide variety, wherever security and authenticated identity are important, such as in controlling access to secure facilities and to medical records.
Almost any type of Industry can benefit from Smart Card technology:
- Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, used in cell phones on most wireless networks
- Financial cards supporting both online and offline transactions
- Government and health-care identity cards
- Cards that provide logical access and physical access to enterprise resources
- Smart tickets for mass transit