Cards, Tokens or Nothing at All




Cards, tokens, or simply unique customer identification numbers can drive applications. Cards can be smart, contact or contactless; magnetic stripped or bar-coded. Each has its place in certain applications. CardSmart Technologies, Inc. (CST) supports a broad variety of cards and tokens (traditional magnetic stripe cards, smart cards, RFID, bio-metrics, key fobs, etc.)



Bar-coded cards are best for simple, low-end ID systems. The cards are scanned with optical bar code readers like those at a supermarket check out. Since the card stores only a single ID number, a large, often real-time back-end system is required to manage related data. Bar codes can also be delivered electronically, making them ideal for individualized or one-time use offers.


contactlessContactless cards communicate through radio frequencies (RF) at very short distances. Contactless cards are ideal for physical access, transit and inventory control. Specific types of contactless include Proximity, MIFARE and SmarTrip used in the Washington, D.C. area (shown at right).

The speed and convenience of contactless cards has made them a popular choice for all sorts of applications.


magstripeMagnetic Stripe Cards offer a well established technology for payment applications. These cards are suitable for low cost loyalty and ID applications, but lack the security of more expensive smart cards because the data encoded on the card can be read and duplicated relatively easily.

Magnetic Stripe cards are a popular choice for many applications because they can be easily customized with additional card features.


rewritableRewritable cards are designed to allow the physical card to be reprinted. This is made possible by a thin film which is applied to the card. Chemicals in the film are activated by a special reader which applies heat to create a visible image. In this manner, a new and different visible message can be printed on the card with every use. This is a great way to communicate to the cardholder information such as points accrued, remaining value, or unique messages about upcoming promotions/offers.

CSTt can combine this technology with one of the other card types, such as magnetic stripe or smart cards, to create a powerful new marketing tool.


smart-cardsSmart Cards offer some of the most sophisticated card technology available today. Commonly referred to as chip cards because they have an embedded microchip, these cards are capable of storing up to 256K of data and include a high level of security which is local to the card. Considerable proficiency is required to be able to work effectively with these cards.

CST has specialized in building smart card applications for more than a decade and has the experience and skill set needed to architect even the most complex applications.