A smart chip is an extremely small piece of hardware that includes a microprocessor for computing, or other resources for high-level data handling.

Various kinds of smart chips deliver different kinds of functionality to a smart card. Some work much like a small flash drive or pen drive USB device in that they simply include memory to store data. Smart chips may also handle password protection or other security devices for cards. Other competing types of cards involving smart chips are made for specific retail situations: these include chip-and-PIN cards, which use a PIN number for authentication.

A microcontroller embedded memory chip

WHAT ARE SMART CHIPS MADE OF?

Typically, a smart chip is embedded in a number of layers that make up the physical card. Durable materials such as polyester are used together with layers of colorful visual materials and laminate covering. The design of different types of smart chips must match the design of reader systems for a given use.

WORKING AND FUNCTIONING OF SMART CHIPS

The following four functions described at a high level the sequence of events that happen when a smart chip is brought near a card reader:

  • Energy transfer to the card for powering the integrated circuit.
  • Clock signal transfer.
  • Data transfer to and from the smart chip.

A smart chip includes an embedded microcontroller, internal memory, and a small antenna and communicates with a reader through a contactless radio frequency interface. Smart card technology is used in applications that need to protect personal information, secure transactions, and coperate identification cards.

Some of their examples are :

  • The Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card being issued by all Federal agencies for employees and contractors.
  • The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) being issued by the Transportation Security Administration.
  • Contactless payment cards and devices being issued by MasterCard, and Visa.
  • Contactless transit fare payment systems currently operating or being installed in many cities.

HOW IS A SMART CHIP USED?

“A realistic estimation of a credit card carbon footprint is about 150 grams of CO2eq.(equivalent to less than 1 mile done by car per card manufactured).”

The use of smart chips has expanded each year to include applications in various markets and disciplines. In recent years, the information age has introduced various security and privacy issues that have called for advanced smart card and smart chip security applications.

WHAT ARE THE FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF A SMART CHIP ON A CARD?

Smart chips provide ways for secure identification and authentication by the pin provided for the data on a smart card.

They also provide a way to securely store data on the card and protect communications with encryption. Smart cards provide a portable, easy-to-use form factor. Smart cards contain unique features that bring many benefits to both consumers and issuing organizations. Smart cards provide:

  • Security 
  • Confidentiality 
  • Portability
  • Convenience 

Smart cards offer more security than other financial information or transaction storage vehicles, making them a perfect solution for e-commerce transactions.

As they include a tamper-resistant microprocessor, they have the processing power to protect the information of the user, it’s encrypting and executing. A smart card is a safe place to store valuable information such as private keys, account numbers, passwords, or personal information. It’s also a secure place to perform processes.