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Examples possible uses include local public transport

6 Introduction

impossible to describe all of these applications in detail within the confines of this book, a few typical examples must serve to illustrate the basic properties of smart cards. This introductory chapter is only meant to provide an initial overview of the functional versatility of these cards. Several typical applications are described in detail in Chapters 12, 13 and 14.

To make this overview easier to follow, it is helpful to divide smart cards into two categories: memory cards and microprocessor cards.

In summary, memory-type smart cards have limited functionality. Their integrated security logic makes it possible to protect stored data against manipulation. They are suitable for use as prepaid cards or identification cards in systems where low cost is a primary consideration.

1.2.2 Microprocessor cards


Following a drastic reduction in the cost of smart cards in the early 1990s due to mass production, new applications have been introduced year after year. The use of smart cards with mobile telephones has been especially important for their international proliferation. After being successfully tested in the German national C-Netz (analog mobile telephone net-work) for use in mobile telephones, smart cards were prescribed as the access medium for the European digital mobile telephone system (GSM). In part, this was because smart cards allowed a high degree of security to be achieved for accessing the mobile telephone network. At the same time, they provided new possibilities and thus major advantages in marketing mobile telephones, since they made it possible for network operators and service providers to sell telephones and services separately. Without the smart card, mobile telephones would certainly not have spread so quickly across Europe or developed into a worldwide industry standard.


100 000

• health cards

• mobile telephones (GSM, UMTS)

10 000
(electronic purses, credit and debit cards)
1 000
• data encryption

• public card phones
•medical insurance cards


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