Since its invention, smart card solutions that have remained to be very essential in addressing various needs in the society. With the development of the smart card technology, a number of areas such as telecommunication, security banking just to mention a few have benefited through its use in the making is smart cards. Smart cards are plastics card which have some microchip stored in it (Schneider, 2008). With this technology, plastic cards with microchip can have different information stored on them making it easy to perform a number of functions. The most important thing about the smart card technology is its ability to be used in numerous areas, enhance security and reduce fraud and store value in them. These functions have made the smart card technology revolutionize how some functions are carried out by individuals.
History of smart cards
The use of smart cards began around 1970s when it was discovered and has since then grown into a significant technology that has shaped the human society. The smart card is believed to have been invented by a German scientist named Jurgen Dethlof who was working with his college in a German laboratory. The two German scientists patented the technology. Later on, several companies took over the testing of the new technology particular in the reduction of the card. Siemens AG was one of the companies that engaged itself in research trying to work out on the reduction of the microchip. The result of these efforts was the significant reduction of the smart cards which allowed to be carried with much ease. At the same time, the memory of the smart cards were also worked on with improvement on storage capacity been realized (Sauerbrey & Walter, 2006). Since then considerable improvement has been done with smart cards making them find great use in areas such as Telkom, Finance, Government, Transport and security.
The usefulness of the smart technology has been seen in numerous areas where their use has brought tremendous benefits to firms which have deployed theme for their benefits. The Banking industry is one of the areas where the use of smart card has proliferated since its development. The use of smart card in the banking industry has made it possible for people to be able to withdraw money through the use of cards such as VISA, Discovery and American express which has made it possible for people to access cash easily. According to Sauerbrey and Walter (2006), the use of the smart card has been successful in ensuring corporate security where smart cards are used to restrict of allow movement or access to facilities. Though this use, corporate firms has been able to ensure that security is maintained with little overheads in cost.
Stored value of smart cards
The smart card are often said to be having a stored value which refers to the amount of money individuals have debited in their smart card. This value allows for the use of the card in various transactions particular in favor of traditional transactions that would have required the use of payments through cash. With stored value, individuals can have their smart cards preloaded with some amount of money which can be used for making various payments. This value is however not insured nor does it earn benefits such as interest as compared to the other cards.
Through the use of smart cards having some given stored value, consumer can be able to pay for services such as healthcare. The useful of the smart cards will be of particular importance taking into consideration some time healthcare services may be required on short notices or even on emergency. With a smart card, consumers can preload their card with some known amount and present their cards for billing purposes. The use of the card in this way will promote efficacy and ease in accessing health services. The use of smart card has also helped prevent fraud in various areas where its use if mean to provide security. Through the development of the smart cards, information about consumers can be captured and stored in the microchips in the card. Security has been improved through the utilization of smart card in providing consumers with the ability to authenticate themselves prior to accessing services.
As a result, cases of fraud have been thwarted with individuals proving their identity through the use of the smart cards. This can be done when people access facilities, pay visits and even lay claims in insurance firms. By producing, smart cards, consumers have been identified. The use of smart card gained ground in the provision of administrative services which has made it possible for the control of human resources in various firms. With the use of smart cards, an employer can restrict employees into entering some areas of the firm and at the same time gain access to accurate information of the entrance and exit of employees at workplaces. As a result of the use of smart cards, administrative tasks have been simplified and made easy to the employers who can track their employees (Hendry, 2007).
Since the introduction of the smart card during the 1970s, this technology has transformed various tasks into more efficient process. With the smart cards banking and security industries have been able to develop cutting edge solutions that have allowed for easy access to money as well as improved security. With the use of stored value in smart cards, huge benefits can be realized from its usage in the payments of medical fees when need be. Additionally, the use of smart card can improve both security and administrative efforts of organizations. The challenge to be address remains on how to prevent the manufacture and use of fake smart cards. Nevertheless, the smart card technology will remain one of the most influential technologies in the society.