Reader Riddle: Choosing A Smart Card Reader

With technology advancing as it is now, everything’s going high-tech. Even simple IDs are getting more advanced. A membership card with a microchip for easy login and identification? Holographic cards for maximum security? These are but some of the advances of technology.

For businesses and organizations, ensuring the safety, security and convenience of their members’ information is very important. Hence, why some of them opt for smart card technology. Smart cards are cards containing a microchip, which are built into the card itself, utilized for electronic processing; authentication, financial transactions, and the like. To utilize a smart card, one must have a reader for, well, reading the cards’ stored information.

With the kind of consideration needed to be put in for something like a membership card, anything relevant to that is to be taken with the same amount of thought. So, you have the smart cards, what about the smart card readers?

Smart card readers are either contact-based, contactless, or a mix of both. The difference being that contact card readers interact with the card when they’re inserted by the user, like those in stored value cards like credit cards, whilst contactless cards use radio frequencies to communicate with cards when placed in close proximity.

Here are some considerations when deciding on a smart card reader.

  • Compatibility. Analyze the cards the business/organization is using and use that to determine which reader you should get. Certain readers only handle certain cards or certain frequencies for communication. No point in getting a reader that doesn’t work with the cards you’re using, clearly.
  • Space. The card reader is, ultimately, equipment. And equipment takes space. In places like the office, space is prime real estate, everything that can potentially waste space is a no-no. As such, taking into account where the card reader would go is important when making a purchase. Designating a space for it before you buy is wise.
  • Security. Security is, of course, a key issue in any business/organization. A smart card contains very private, very important information about its owner, and, as such, keeping it safe is imperative. Cards have frequency ranges, which a reader picks up on. Making sure it isn’t the same as something common, or easily accessible by any non-authorized entity will ensure the safety of that membership card data.