Smart card

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A smart card

A smart card is a card with a microchip in it. Such cards are used as a method of identification and authentication.

Plastic cards that allow to withdraw money from a cash machine often are smart cards nowadays (Some of them still have a magnetic stripe which holds the same information). The very often the user is identified with a PIN. If the pin is entered correctly, money can be withdrawn. If the PIN is not entered correctly, the card is blocked (after a number of false attempts).

At first, smart cards were used in public telephones in France, in 1983. There, the card simply stored a pre-paid credit. This credit was reduced when calls were made. Another way to solve the problem is that the balance is stored in a remote database. To make calls, a (usually toll-free number) is first called. From there, additional calls can be made. This eleiminates the need for cards with chips on them.