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What Smart Card Technology do and How They Work?

What Smart Card Technology do and How They Work?

Sep 22, 2020

Nowadays,we all live in a smart world where technological trends and advancements are making life easier for everyone. Making payments and shopping online across various platforms has never been this swift and secured in the 21st century. Smart card technology is the fuel driving this convenient means of making payments and carrying out online transactions.

smart card

Smart cards are now common in every economy across the world - they are being used by almost everyone that receives a paycheck. The idea of a smart card is to reduce the archaic manner in which people carry cash about and feel insecure owing to prying eyes and numerous cases of heists associated with moving large chunks of cash about.

What Smart Card Technology  is all About

Smart card technology involves making a tiny rectangular piece of card smart. These cards are tiny enough to fit in your wallet or back pockets, and that’s where the first convenience it affords can be seen.

Various institutions ranging from banks, companies, business enterprises, and many other institutions make use of smart cards for different purposes. The cards can come in different sizes, but they all share one thing in common; the technology that drives them.

This smart technology enables users to store specific information unique to them which they can use to make payments and other transactions without involving physical cash.

Why Are  They Labeled  ‘Smart Cards’?

They are called smart cards because they aren’t just cards, they are cards bearing a substantial amount of private information and data limited to a particular user: the owner of the card.

These cards have memory chips embedded in them that are microprocessors with the capacity to store a lot of information about its users. These users can utilize the technology to carry out online financial transactions such as shopping without cash in hand, making payments like electric bills, and transferring funds to a second party.

With microprocessors, the cards are now smart because they are capable of housing information and making use of them as the occasion demands.

How  Smart Cards are Constructed

The construction of a smart card entails four basic steps: designing, fabrication, coding, and data loading.

1. Designing

This is the first step which requires the designer or programmer to allocate a memory size to the chip, specify the clock speed, the volatile memory types, and the operating system.

It also requires the programmer to create application software for the card while specifying the card type and any other features he might want to include in the card.

2. Fabrication of the Chip

The chip made of silicon is being fixed into the card at this second stage. This silicon chip is being linked to connectors with connecting wires either by soldering them or by bounding them together.

After this, the chip on the board substrate is sealed with an epoxy resin and glued directly to the substrate of the card. The substrate here is the plastic which can be made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or any other synthetic plastic.

3. Coding

This is an integral step where the foundation for the functionality of the card is laid. In this step, the codes are being entered into the chip memory using special commands.

4. Data Loading

This is the stage where the intended user's personal data is being loaded into the memory chip.

smart card technology

How  the  Smart Cards  Work

Like mentioned earlier, smart cards are like the regular cards you can find around you (the same size and made of the same plastic material) but they have a memory chip contained in a contact pad.

The contact pad bearing the embedded memory chip is the basis for which a transaction can be made using a smart card. Once this contact pad is detached, the card is no longer smart.

Smart cards don’t work alone - they need a smart card reader to function. When certain relevant personal information has been written into the smart card by its issuers, you’ll need a card reader where you can slot in the card, punch in your personal security code, and carry out any transaction.

It is the contact pad that comes in real contact with the card reader and subsequently establishes an electronic interaction between itself and the card reader.

This then enables you to make payments via a Point of Sale (POS) system or other mediums to carry out transactions. However, some smart cards don’t require a card reader interface to function - contactless cards are increasing in popularity due to their convenience.

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