Chips that contain both memory and a microprocessor, have an "intelligent" controller used to securely add, delete, change and update information contained in the memory. The more sophisticated microprocessor chips have state-of-the-art security features built in to protect the memory content from unauthorized access.
Contact smart cards must be inserted into a card acceptor device where pins attached to the reader make "contact" with pads on the surface of the card to read and store information in the chip. This type of e-card is used in a wide variety of applications including network security, vending, meal plans, loyalty, electronic cash, government IDs, campus IDs, e-commerce, health cards and many more.
Smart cards provide a means of effecting business transactions in a flexible, secure, standard way with minimal human intervention.
Smart cards can also provide strong authentication for single sign-on or enterprise single sign-on to computers, laptops, data with encryption, enterprise resource planning platforms such as SAP, etc.
It can be used for identification, authentication, and data storage.
The chip usually includes a control microprocessor, an encryption/decryption engine, a Read Only Memory containing the operating program, and up to 64 K bytes of reusable memory (EEPROM).
Smart cards are now widely used in credit card applications where their increased security can help to defeat criminals. It is also a form of strong security authentication for single sign-on within large companies and organizations. They are also finding many new roles in biometric access and ID systems, and in multi-function transaction applications. These applications frequently require dye sub-printing for personalization, and combining the initial data programming of the card with the printing process is very efficient.