(plural smart cards)
- A plastic card that has information stored on a computer chip.
smart card - Computer Definition
A credit card–sized device (or sometimes smaller) that has a embedded computer chip. This chip not only provides storage functionality but also can run programs. Smart cards are used in a number of security-sensitive applications. One important application of Smart Cards is in wireless telecommunication, where Smart Cards are used as Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM).
Another use is the health insurance card now employed in several countries around the world. The patient card contains a patient’s health history and a record of previous prescriptions. In addition to this data, a number of security algorithms are implemented on the card so that only properly authorized parties—doctors and/or nurses—can access and alter this data when they successfully establish their identity and authentication through the usage of a health professional’s version of the card.
A credit card with a built-in microprocessor and memory used for identification or financial transactions. When inserted into a reader or brought in close contact with a reader (see NFC), it transfers data to a central computer and receives responses. A smart card is more secure than a magnetic stripe card and can be programmed to self-destruct if the wrong password is entered too many times. As a financial transaction card, it can be loaded with digital money and used like a travelers check, except that variable amounts of money can be spent until the balance is zero. See PIV, SIM card, Java Card and contactless smart card.