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NXP Product Overview
 
    What is Smart Contactless Card?
    A contactless smart card is a contactless 13.56-MHz credential whose dimensions are credit-card size. Its embedded integrated circuits can store and sometimes process data and communicate with a terminal via radio waves. There are two broad categories of contactless smart cards. Memory cards contain non-volatile memory storage components, and perhaps some specific security logic. Contactless smart cards do contain read-only RFID called CSN (Card Serial Number) or UID, and a re-writeable smart card microchip that can be transcribed via radio waves.

    How do contactless smart cards work?
    Contactless smart card systems are closely related to contact smart card systems. Like contact smart card systems, information is stored on a chip embedded within the contactless smart card. However, unlike the contact smart card, the power supplied to the card as well as the data exchanged between the card and the reader are achieved without the use of contacts, using magnetic or electromagnetic fields to both power the card as well as to exchange data with the reader.
    The contactless smart card contains an antenna embedded within the plastic body of the card (or within a key fob, watch or other document). When the card is brought into the electromagnetic field of the reader, the chip in the card is powered on. Once the chip is powered on, a wireless communication protocol is initiated and established between the card and the reader for data transfer.
    The following four functions describe at a high level the sequence of events that happen when a contactless smart card is brought near a card reader:
1) Energy transfer to the card for powering the integrated circuit (chip)
2) Clock signal transfer
3) Data transfer to the contactless smart card
4) Data transfer from the contactless smart card
    Hence, once the card is brought within range of an electromagnetic field of the required frequency, the card will be powered up, ready to communicate with the reader. Since the contactless smart cards described in this FAQ are based on the ISO/IEC 14443 standard, this frequency is 13.56 MHz and a reader that complies with the standard would have an activation field (range) of about 4 inches (approximately 10 centimeters). In other words, the card needs to be within 10 centimeters of a reader for it to be effectively powered; however, the effective range for communications for the card to be read will depend on a number of factors like the power of the reader, the antenna of the reader and the antenna of the card.

    Is contactless smart card technology the same as RFID technology?
    No. There is significant confusion in discussions of RF-enabled applications, with contactless smart card technology often incorrectly categorized as ‘RFID.’ There is a wide range of RF technologies used for a variety of applications – each with different operational parameters, frequencies, read ranges and capabilities to support security and privacy features. For example, the RFID technologies that are used to add value in manufacturing, shipping and object-related tracking operate over long ranges (e.g., 25 feet), were designed for that purpose alone and have minimal built-in support for security and privacy. Contactless smart cards, on the other hand, use RF technology, but, by design, operate at a short range (less than 4 inches) and can support the equivalent security capabilities of a contact smart card chip.

Tags : Contactless smart card, Contactless cards , Contactless card , Smart cards ,Smart card
Contactless credit card , What is a smart card? , What is smart card? , Smart card service


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