The most widely used
contactless chip is the Mifare A chip, developed by Philips,
who have licensed many suppliers to produce both chips and readers. Many establishments have Mifare systems installed,
successfully using them for door access control and cash less payments.
Chips are usually embedded into cards, although other forms are available (e.g. key
fobs). An long aerial is also embedded into the card, which powers the chip when the card is held in the
electromagnetic field emitted by a card reader. When powered, the chip can respond to the reader e.g. to
provide data to a door access-control application.
The chip has 16 data sectors, the first of which contains a unique id set at manufacture and unchangeable
thereafter. Applications may use this id, or may write their own information into one of the other sectors.
Each sector has two keys and configurable access conditions controlling read, write, increment and
decrement. This allows, for example, one key with limited rights to be widely circulated, while the other key
is given greater rights and kept private.
Security is an improvement over the existing TDSi system for two reasons. First, it is much more difficult to
forge a MIFARE card than it is to forge a TDSi swipe strip. Second, communication between chip and
reader is encrypted, although with a proprietary algorithm, rather than a simple encoding of the number.
However, the encryption will use a key that is likely to be known to a large
number of readers. Mifare chips and TDSi strips cannot co-exist on the same card,
because of the embedded aerial. Introducing
a Mifare version of the card will mean that some cardholders will need to carry
two university cards, as the large investment in TDSi across the university cannot
simply be abandoned. The card office already issues
two different types of card (with and without contact smart chip) according to
need, and can build on the
existing infrastructure to cope with issuing the appropriate technology and number of cards to each
A Contactless card consists of a memory or microprocessor
chip connected to an antenna. The antenna and micro-module are
embedded into the plastic card body.
To program integrated circuit cards a printer needs to be equipped with a coupler.
Read/write Functionality for Multi-functional Memory Applications. Sixteen securely
separated files (sectors), each protected by a set of two keys and programmable
access conditions, allow complex applications and provide for future expansion.
sector potentially represents a different application. Arithmetic functions are
used for expanding the capabilities of the chip. Different keys can protect read/write
operations in order to build
key hierarchies in the system. Security mechanisms such as mutual authentication
and encryption are efficiently combined with fast processing and data communication,
transaction times of less than 100 milliseconds for a typical secure ticketing
Proven, Reliable Technology Offers extremely consistent read range.
shielding or variable environmental conditions, even when close
to keys and coins.
Can be carried with credit cards in a wallet or purse. Use with a strap and
clip as a photo ID badge. Photo ID Compatible Print directly
to the card with a direct
image or thermal
transfer printer. Slot punch vertically for easy use. Long Life and Passive,
no-battery design allows for an infinite number of reads. Durability Strong,
flexible and resistant to cracking and breaking.
No physical contact (less contamination and da mage) and less wear and tear.
Ergonomics. Faster transactions than with standard 'contact' smart card technology.
Distance between the reader and the card. High data rate (high speed radio frequency
between the card and the terminal)
- Contactless cards are used in the following:
events and cultural events