The multiple uses of payments cards

Written By John Fieldsend
Smart Cards

We're not simply talking bank cards here: plastic cards have become the global standard for electronically purchasing goods and services. They're convenient, secure and can save people carrying cash around with them in the workplace for example, at school or on transport.

Payments cards

In the last 20 years insecure magnetic stripe and embossed numbering systems have been replaced by a secure electronic system of data and keys held on the smart card’s embedded chip. This standard was established and has been championed by EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa). These secured cards can be issued locally, for example in branch at the point of account opening, using desktop card printers fitted with the appropriate EMV encoding devices.

Logical access cards

EMV bank cards can be used with a logical access control reader to provide multi-factor authentication to online banking services. In addition to a password, the account holder can be asked to present a smart card with secure electronic keys to identify themselves; and for the highest level of transactional security, a biometric (with the template stored on the card) can also be requested.

Physical access cards

Bank cards based on a smart card platform can be used to access banking facilities such as out-of-hours deposit boxes or cash machine foyers, typically by fitting an appropriate smart card reader to the point of access.