SmartCard Solutions and Integration Services
Smart cards are widely acknowledged as one of the most secure
and reliable forms of an electronic identification (ID) token. A
smart card includes an embedded integrated circuit chip that can
be either a microcontroller chip with internal memory or a
secured memory chip alone. The card communicates with a reader
either through direct physical contact or with a remote
contactless electromagnetic field that energizes the chip and
transfers data between the card and the reader. With an embedded
microcontroller, smart cards have the unique ability to store
large amounts of data, carry out their own on-card functions
(e.g., data storage and management, encryption, decryption, and
digital signature calculations) and interact intelligently with
a smart card reader.
A smart card ID can combine several ID technologies, including the embedded chip, visual security markings, magnetic stripe, barcode and/or an optical stripe. By combining these various technologies into a smart card ID token, the resulting ID can support both future and legacy physical and logical access applications. They can also support other applications that have traditionally required separate ID processes and tokens.
Smartcards have a wide range of applications which include but is not limited to the following:
- Enterprise ID
We provide services and solutions covering a wide spectrum of smartcard industry segments from supply to integration and implementation of smartcard based systems. Our focus covers a wide range of sectors – financial, government, enterprise, transportation, mobile telecommunications, healthcare and retail.
Enterprise Identity Applications
Organizations of all sizes and in all industries are working to improve the process used to identify users to their networked systems. With the growing use of wired and wireless networks to access information resources and the increasing occurrence of identity theft and attacks on corporate networks, password-based user authentication is increasingly acknowledged to be a significant security risk. Both enterprises and government agencies are moving to replace simple passwords with stronger, multi-factor authentication systems that strengthen information security, respond to market and regulatory conditions, and lower support costs.
Smart cards support all of the authentication technologies, storing password files, public key infrastructure certificates, one-time password seed files, and biometric image templates, as well as generating asymmetric key pairs. A smart card used in combination with one or more authentication technologies provides stronger multi-factor authentication and significantly strengthens logical access security. Smart card technology also provides the flexibility for including all authentication factors in a single smart card, improving the security and privacy of the overall authentication process.
Smart cards are becoming the preferred method for logical access, not only for their increased security, but also for their ease of use, broad application coverage, ease of integration with the IT infrastructure, and multi-purpose functionality. Both Microsoft® Windows® and Unix® operating systems offer a significant level of smart-card-related support and functionality, through either built-in (out-of-the-box) support or commercial add-on software packages. Smart-card-based logical access allows organizations to issue a single ID card that supports logical access, physical access, and secure data storage, along with other applications. By combining multiple applications on a single ID card, organizations can reduce cost, increase end-user convenience, and provide enhanced security for different applications.
Smart card technology provides organizations with cost-effective logical access. Smart cards deliver a positive business case for implementing any authentication technology. Improved user productivity, reduced password administration costs, decreased exposure to risk, and streamlined business processes all contribute to a significant positive return on investment.
Health care organizations worldwide are implementing smart health cards supporting a wide variety of features and applications. Smart health cards can improve the security and privacy of patient information, provide the secure carrier for portable medical records, reduce healthcare fraud, support new processes for portable medical records, provide secure access to emergency medical information, enable compliance with government initiatives and mandates, and provide the platform to implement other applications as needed by the healthcare organization.
Smart card technology is currently recognized as the most appropriate technology for identity applications that must meet critical security requirements. Countries around the world use smart cards for secure identity, payment, and healthcare applications. In addition, public corporations use smart employee ID cards to secure access to physical facilities and computer systems and networks.
The U.S. Federal government for example, has standardized on smart cards for employee and contractor identification cards and is also specifying smart cards in new identity programs for citizens, transportation workers and first responders.
Smart cards are used extensively in the telecommunications industry worldwide. Eurosmart reported that 3.58 billion smart cards were shipped globally in 2006 and that over 4.1 billion smart cards are expected to ship in 2007.
Smart cards are used worldwide in transportation applications, with millions of smart cards in use for both transit fare payment and parking fee payment.
Financial institutions in Europe, Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Canada are issuing contact EMV smart cards for credit and debit payment or migrating to EMV issuance. According to EMVCo, worldwide EMV card deployment was 405.8 million cards as of end of December 2005, while EMV terminal deployment was 4.5 million units.
Smart cards are used for electronic purse payment applications. In this application, the smart card carries a stored monetary value. Cardholders generally use these cards to replace cash in making frequent, low-value transactions. Electronic purses are used for both retail payment and transit fare payment.
Since mid-2005, leading financial issuers have put millions contactless credit and debit cards and devices into the hands of U.S. consumers. Issuers in the United States include: Advanta; American Express; Citibank; Citizens Financial; HSBC Bank; GE Consumer Finance; JPMorgan Chase; KeyBank; MBNA; Peoples Bank of Paris, Texas; and Wells Fargo. Visa and JPMorgan Chase have also launched a contactless mobile payment pilot in Atlanta, and Discover has announced that it will pilot contactless payments using mobile phones later this year. In addition, Peoples Trust Bank and Mint Technology in Canada are issuing contactless prepaid cards based on MasterCard PayPass technology.
Introduction of contactless credit and debit cards has focused on markets that have lower value transactions (less than $25), where consumers use cash for payment, and where transaction speed and customer convenience are critical. Merchant locations throughout the U.S are now accepting contactless payment, including quick service restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, theaters, and sports venues, among others. Both well-known national merchants (such as McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, AMC Theaters, Regal Theaters, CVS/pharmacy and Arby’s) and regional retailers (such as Wawa and Sheetz) have chosen to accept contactless payments.
Smart Cards and Identity Applications
Smart card technology is currently recognized as the most appropriate technology for identity applications that must meet critical security requirements, including:
- Authenticating the bearer of an identity credential when used in conjunction with personal identification numbers (PINs) or biometric technologies
- Protecting privacy
- Increasing the security of an identity credential
- Implementing identity management controls
Countries around the world use smart cards for secure identity applications. In addition, public corporations (including Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Chevron, and Boeing) use smart employee ID cards to secure access to physical facilities and computer systems and networks.
Interested to learn more about our Smartcard and Identity Management solutions? Please contact us immediately using information provided on our contact page on this website.