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SmartCards What is a Smartcard A Smartcard is a standard credit card sized plastic card with an integrated circuit embedded in it This integrated circuit includes a microprocessor and a bit of memory which together hold information in electronic form and controls who uses the information and how they use it The Smartcards ability to store and control many different types of information as well as its large storage capacity gives rise to several Smartcard applications For example a single Smartcard could take the place of a credit card a debit card and even be used as an electronic purse to carry Electric-cash E-cash The plastic card itself can incorporate words and pictures or graphics printed on it which can be easily understood by the card holder as well as the people the card holder meets The integrated circuit holds information in electronic form that can be easily securely and accurately accessed by all sorts of electronic data processing equipment Some Smartcards are smarter than others the smartness of a card depends on the complexity of the embedded processor as well as the software that is installed on the chip Even the simplest cards like the pay phone cards are smart enough that they are virtually impossible to copy or falsify However the simplest Smartcards do not provide any security against unauthorized use In other words if you lose your pay phone card anyone else can use it There are of course smarter cards that provide such security by incorporating a password or even a biometric identifier such as a fingerprint to restrict its use to one person The most sophisticated cards can manage several passwords and can use authentication and ciphering techniques to provide virtually total security History behind Smartcards In January 1974 Roland Moreno a Frenchman and former reporter devised a revolutionary new payment system His idea was an electronic stored value application mounted on a ring
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