A smart card is a plastic card that includes an embedded integrated circuit chip (ICC). The smart card connects to a reader with direct physical contact or with a remote contactless interface or RFID (radio frequency identification component). With an embedded microcontroller, smart cards have the unique ability to store large amounts of data (e.g. biometrics), carry out their own on-card functions (e.g., encryption and digital signatures) and interact intelligently with a smart card reader.

Smart card technology encompasses many different shapes, features, and functions beyond a typical card implementation and can be embedded in computers, mobile devices, and tokens.

Over 5.1 billion smart cards were shipped worldwide in 2009. Smart cards are currently used worldwide for many applications, including healthcare, financial, transit, telecommunications, and secure identification.

Over 9 Million terminals (POS and ATM’s) can read chip based Smart Card and conduct payment transactions.

Banks worldwide are migrating to the new standard to issue EMV chip-based financial cards if they want to benefit from Visa, MasterCard and Europay advantages, namely security.

EMV card technology also has an RFID that allows customers to buy merchandise with the Visa and MasterCard logo with a contactless offering. EMV is an inter-operability standard developed by the three financial institutions which ensures that all Europay, MasterCard and VISA branded smart cards and all smart card reading POS terminals and ATM’s work together to deliver the highest security level for electronic transactions.

Leading financial institutions have structured the main benefits of the Smart Card & EMV technology into three main categories:

    1. Reduction of credit card based frauds worldwide
    2. Multi-application inter-operability
    3. New innovative concepts based on the Smart Card standard