A smart card is a plastic card used in various types of transactions. This card is widely popular in European countries such as Germany. The main difference of smart cards from other similar products such as credit cards is that smart cards contain a microprocessor.
The microprocessor is embedded under a gold pad in the smart card. It is usually 16 bits. This component’s main purpose is to provide security to the account information of the card holder. Once the card is inserted to the smart card reader during a specific transaction, the microprocessor is activated. The microprocessor then enforces the access level in which the card reader may retrieve data needed to complete the transaction.
Apart from the microprocessor, other components are included in the smart card. These include RAM (Random Access Memory), which can reach around 8Kb, and ROM (Read-Only Memory) with a size of 346Kb. A smart card also contains 256Kb of programmable ROM. These components function in terms of data storage and retrieval.
Smart cards are used in numerous services. Credit card companies have started to use the microprocessor technology of smart cards instead of magnetic stripe technology. Businesses providing electronic cash services give their clients smart cards for them to acquire the said services.
Tbe use of smart cards also implement the use of computer security systems. Before an individual can access a specific computer or network, he first has to insert his smart card into the systems reader to certify that he is an authorized user. Other groups that use the smart card technology include banks, government agencies, and health insurance companies.