Contact Smart Cards
Contact smart cards are the same size as a debit or credit card and contain a single embedded chip. The card is inserted into a smart card reader in order to read and write information in the chip.
Contact smart cards are used for a wide range of applications including electronic cash, loyalty cards, ID cards, building access control, network access control and many more.
The integrated circuit chip embedded into the smart card might contain just memory, or it may also contain a microprocessor. Memory-only chips are less expensive but also offer less security.
Chips that contain a microprocessor are able to update securely the information contained in the memory. Some more advanced chips also contain enhanced security features to protect the contents of the memory from any unauthorised access.
Contactless smart cards
Contactless smart cards contain an embedded antenna (instead of contact pads), and do not have to be inserted into a card reader. Instead, they are typically passed within 6-10 cm of the card reader.
Proximity cards are similar to contactless smart cards but are read-only devices that generally have a greater range of operation, typically up to around 50 cm. Proximity cards therefore offer additional convenience, particularly where speed and hands-free operation is important.
Hybrid cards generally contain a combination of two or more embedded chip technologies, such as a contactless smart card chip with an antenna, along with a contact smart card chip with its contact pads. As well as varying levels of security, hybrid cards can offer an effective solution for combining new ID card technologies and applications with your legacy card systems - all in a single card.
Combi cards or dual interface cards have one smart chip embedded in the card that can be accessed through either contact pads or an embedded antenna. This type of smart card is growing in popularity as it offers flexibility, ease-of-use and high security in a single card product.
Trial before committing to volumes
Large chip suppliers do not normally support embedding contact chips into cards a customer already has, or small numbers of units between 100 and 1,000.
At our in-house full service bureau and fulfilment centre in the UK, CPS can supply the required chip, mill out the card and glue the chip into position - providing our customers with the opportunity to trial products before committing to larger volumes.
For more information about chip embedding and smart card technologies, and to find out how CPS could help your organisation please contact us.