Friday, February 27, 2015

Proximity Cards versus Smart Cards

A proximity card is a credential that is used for access control.  Most often a photo ID accompanies a proximity card although key fobs can also be used for this purpose.
Proximity cards are contactless credentials which use an internal antenna and operate on a 125kHz frequency.  When held to a reader, this frequency is read and interpreted and then subsequently grants the operator physical access to the door, gate or facility.
A smart card can be either contact or contactless.  Smart cards also contain an internal antenna but also include a chip which acts much like a microprocessor.  This chip has the ability to store additional information and perform added security functions as compared to the proximity card.  This microprocessor chip allows for storage of information pertaining to the user and can be used for banking, vending, bookstores, transportation, cafeteria use etc.  This chip also allows two factor authentication of the user such as biometrics for an added level of security protection.  Smart cards operate on a 13.56MHz frequency which permits them to communicate faster than the frequency of a standard proximity card.
Smart cards offer faster and more secure access with the additional memory features compared to proximity cards.  A majority of smart cards can operate on a standard Weigand reader used by proximity cards which alleviates the costs of having to replace your existing card readers.
Overall, smart cards offer added memory, faster speed and more security options than standard proximity cards all while being very cost competitive to the standard proximity card.
Due the recent security breaches experienced by many retailers, both Master Card and Visa have set an October 2015 deadline for all of their card holders to be issued the more secure smart cards as their credit cards.  Many other credit card companies and banking institutions are to follow in the very near future.
Absolute Access is a provider of both standard proximity and smart cards for our customers.  If you would like any additional information, please visit our website at or contact us at (865) 771-9697 for a specialized quote.
Posted by Cindy

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