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Smart Card Reader

Smart Card Reader

Smart cards are used for a variety of purposes today, and their readers are the devices that communicate with the microprocessor inside these cards, and then relay the information to the right channels.
Rahul Thadani
In today's world, it is impossible to not be influenced, and not make use of smart card in our daily lives. A smart card reader is a device that this card communicates with, and fulfills the necessary task that it is programmed for. The communication between the two can be carried out physically, by placing the card inside the reader, or it can also be achieved with the help of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

These readers are also known as card programmers, Interface Devices (IFD), Card Acceptance Devices (CAD), or card terminals. These can be standalone devices, or hardware units that need to be connected to a computer, in order to gain access to the card itself. The different types of readers that are available today are serial, keyboard, and PC Card readers.

Smart Card

Also known as an Integrated Circuit Card (ICC), a smart card is a small, credit card-sized device, with a microprocessor and other circuits embedded inside it. These devices are generally made up of synthetic plastic, and are used for a variety of purposes as enlisted below.
  • They are used in ATM and credit cards, and contain the Personal Identification Number (PIN) and the account details of an individual.
  • They are used in SIMs, which need to be placed inside a mobile phone, and this is necessary to acquire the services of a network provider.
  • They can be used as electronic wallets, and can be used as a payment mode at many different sources.
  • They can be used to pay for many public transportation services.
  • They can be used for identification and time log purposes in business organizations.
  • They can carry immense data and details about an individual, and this has many benefits when the person goes to acquire health care facilities.
  • They can be used as identification proof in many countries around the world.
  • They can be used to store information about personnel on the Armed Forces, and special military smart card readers are required to access this information. The network security provided by the microprocessor on the card is what that makes it such a popular method of distributing information. The reader and the computer actually talk to the microprocessor, and thus, access the information on it. This is the primary difference between a smart card and any other data storage device.
Smart Card Reader - Best Buy

Smart card readers that work on contact, come in two different types: landing contact and sliding (or friction) contact readers. Landing contact devices require the card to be placed inside them completely, and hence, offer better security features. On the other hand, friction contact devices just require the card to be swiped across them, and they then register the data on the card instantly. Many computers are also available today that have keyboards with built-in reader, and these are extremely useful in corporate organizations. There are also some USB readers available, and these can be attached to a computer via a USB dongle. Here are some classic examples:
  • EZ Mini Smart Card USB Reader
  • ACF30 USB Floppy Bay Smart Card Reader
  • ACR38U Smart Card USB Reader
  • EZ100PU PC SC Smart Card Reader USB Interface
  • USB Interface Keyboard Smart Card Reader for Mac
  • USB SCR338 Keyboard
  • Omnikey 3121
  • GemPC USB-SL
  • EH880 Secure Smart Card Terminal
  • BlackBerry Smart Card Reader
There are many more choices that are available at a number of technology solutions companies. Whether you want something for your business or personal use, you will find solutions from a number of different sources, and get plenty of information on their pros and cons. You must remember though, that the purpose for which you will be using this card should be legitimate, and it should be approved by the Government of your country. There are many countries, where nationwide, these cards are used for different purposes, and it will be illegal for you to get a reader that could read the data on these cards. Needless to say, it will be very difficult to get your hands on it in the first place, and it will also be very secure.

When a solutions company provides you with smart card technology for your business, they will also provide you with a software download so that you can calibrate the settings of the reader for your business only. The microprocessor on your card will only be read, and the security levels will also be decided by you. With so many different advantages, these devices are coming on in a big way today.