Magnetic Smart Cards Making Consumers Life Easier
Magnetic smart cards background information
Magnetic Smart cards are typically credit card-sized plastic cards that contain relatively large amounts of information within an embedded micro-chip. Importantly Magentic Smart cards differ from magnetic stripe cards in two ways:
- The amount of information that can be stored in a magnetic smart card is much greater
- Some smart cards can be reprogrammed to add, delete or rearrange data.
Note: The following terms “chip card,” “integrated circuit card”, and “smart card” often refer to the same thing.
Magnetic Smart Card Examples
There are primarily two types of magnetic smart cards.
- A “dumb” card in that it only contains memory. These cards are used to store information. Examples of this might include stored value cards where the memory stores a dollar value which the user can spend in a variety of transactions. Examples might be for a pay phone or food vending machines.
- The second type of card is a true “smart” card where a microprocessor is embedded within the card along with the memory. This card has the ability to make decisions about the data stored on the card. The card is not dependent on the unit it is plugged in to to make the application work. A smart purse or multi-use card is possible with this technology.
Smart cards are the preferred technology when fairly large databases must travel with an individual or an object. For instance, a version of smart card technology is used to record the service history of a car. The data travels on a small tag on the owner’s key ring. It can be reprogrammed, updated and accessed whenever the vehicle is serviced with any of that company’s dealers. When you hand over your keys at the garage its amazing what information they can access. As there is a microprocessor on the card, a variety of methods can be used to prevent access to the information. This security has been touted as the main reason that smart cards will replace other card technologies.
Two versions of Microprocessor type magnetic smart cards
- The contactless card uses a technology to pass data between the card and the reader without any physical contact being made. This has a number of advantages
- No contacts to wear out,
- No chance of an electric shock coming through the contacts and destroying the integrated circuit,
- The components are completely embedded in the plastic with no external connections.
- Contact card
Magnetic Smart Cards Magnetic stripe
We use cards with magnetic stripes on them everyday – the gym membership , bus tickets, shop loyalty card, credit card etc. The technology has been around for many years. With the advent of new technologies predominantly mobile phones many people have predicted the demise of the magnetic stripe type cards. Magnetic stripe technology provides the ideal solution to many aspects of our life. It is relatively inexpensive and readily adaptable to many functions. We would love to hear from anybody who has an innovative marketing use of magnetic smart cards. For more information on marketing approaches to complement magnetic smart cards simply click here