Don't Miss! An Overview of the Major Benefits of Smart Cards

Benefits of Smart Cards
The smart card technology has worked wonders in various fields like medicine, finance, and others. Owing to their security features and their ability to store and process information, smart cards are in popular use today. This Buzzle article tells you about the benefits of smart cards.
Quick Fact
Michel Ugon from Honeywell Bull invented the first microprocessor smart card in 1977. The following year, he patented the self-programmable one-chip microcomputer (SPOM) that forms the basis of the architecture needed to program the chip.
A smart card is no small wonder. It is a pocket-sized memory chip that is embedded with integrated circuits. Its chip comprises memory and a microprocessor. The present-day cards have a 32-bit RISC processor, which helps in processing of the information stored on the card. A card reader configured to accept data from that card can read the information stored on a smart card. It is needless to say, that smart card technology is popularly used today.
They are used as identity cards in educational institutions and workplaces. They can be used to store vehicle registration information or can be tagged to products/goods to store vendor-specific information. They are widely used as credit and debit cards where they enable us to perform financial transactions without the use of paper currency. The first mass use of smart cards began in 1983 as a telephone card for payment in French payphones.
Advantages of Smart Cards
Convenience
One of the most obvious benefits of smart cards is that it is always safer and more convenient to carry a single card than bundles of dollar notes. With just one card in your wallet, you can carry out all sorts of money transactions, make purchases, pay bills, etc. Using the card's number or on swiping the card, money can be paid or transferred from one account to another very easily.
Security
An important benefit of smart cards is their inbuilt security. They offer protection of the information stored on them. The smart card technology offers transaction security. Each card has a unique serial number and is capable of performing encryption, thus ensuring secure transactions. Modern-day smart cards have a chip operating system, which possesses error-checking capabilities and user authentication facilities. As these cards support digital signatures, the validity of the organization issuing the cards, as well as of the data stored on them can be checked.
Storage and Processing of Information
A significant advantage of smart cards is that they can not only store data, but also process information. Through smart card readers, one can communicate with other computing devices. Their unique serial numbers serve to uniquely identify the users. Moreover, smart cards are electrically erasable because of which they can be modified. It is possible to update the information stored on a card without having to issue a new one.
Portability
Probably, the most important benefit of smart cards is their portability. Owing to their small size, they can be easily carried along. Their communication with the readers is wireless. Owing to their portability and wireless capabilities, the smart card technology can be implemented in remote areas where wired online communication is not possible. Due to the ease of use offered by smart cards, the elderly and the disabled can access resources and services with greater ease.
Other Benefits
✦ In case of financial transactions, smart cards can be used in place of money. With their use, there is no need to pay in cash and transactions involving huge amounts of money can be carried out with ease. In the form of credit cards, they eliminate the need to pay money immediately.

✦ Smart cards have a personal identification number and support biometrics. Thus, they can be used to uniquely identify users and their information.
✦ They can serve as identity cards in medical facilities (for both staff and patients), in offices (for employees), and in educational institutions (for students and staff).

✦ They can be used to store not only the identification information but also other data like classes and batch/class timings (in case of schools and colleges), for department information and in-out timings (in case of office employees) as well as other personal information (for example medical records of patients, general health records of students, etc.)
✦ Smart cards can be used in licenses and passports, thus giving these documents the advantages of smart card technology. Apart from serving as the identity of their users, the cards can also offer users other advantages like ease of use, data storage, speed, and security.
✦ The cards can be used for club memberships, where they can store user information, the duration of membership, validity of the card, etc.

✦ As smart cards store information specific to a user, they can be used to recognize users quickly and owing to their security features, can be used to distinguish authorized users from unauthorized ones.
✦ SIM cards are smart cards through which service providers manage the rights and privileges of users on various cellular networks. A unique number is given to the device with the help of which its connections (voice and data) over the network are managed by the cellular companies.

✦ Due to their storage capacities, a lot of user information can be integrated onto one card which can then serve multiple purposes.
Smart cards find applications in a variety of fields. They are convenient to carry and easy to use. They assure protection of the data stored on them and offer user authentication facilities. The secret of their popularity lies in the manifold benefits that they offer. Sure, they are smart.