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All You Need To Know About RFID Cards

RFID cards are one of the most underrated pieces of technology in our society today. Many people don’t even know what they are, let alone how to use them. However, RFID cards have a variety of applications that can make your life much easier. But do we know how they work? And more importantly, do we know their potential uses? In this blog post, I will discuss some of the ways that RFID cards can be used and how they can benefit you. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting technology!


What’s an RFID card?


An RFID card is a card that emits radio waves to communicate with a device. This communication can include anything from identification information to data logging. The card reader receives these waves and interprets the information they contain. This technology is often used for contactless payments, such as those made with Apple Pay or Google Pay. It can also be used to create digital keys, which you might have seen in a hotel. All of these applications share the common thread of allowing for automatic identification and data retrieval at relatively short distances.


What is the working mechanism of RFID cards?


In order to understand how an RFID card works, you first have to understand how it transmits data. In a contactless transaction, the information is printed inside a radio frequency identification tag. The RFID tag has the ability to receive and store information from a device, which can then be transmitted wirelessly back to that device at a later date.

So in simple words, RFID cards have RFID tags implanted inside them that stores information and communicate with other RFID devices. Let me illustrate by the example of a hotel key card that is used to open a hotel room door. A person wishing to enter the room would bring an approved RFID card or “key”, very close (within several centimeters) to a reader mounted beside the doorway. The reader detects the presence of the card with the help of radiofrequency communication with an RFID tag inside the keycard. After processing information received from the keycard, it sends an “open door” command to the lock mechanism using the same technology as contactless credit cards.


Types of RFID Cards:


RFID cards are found in all sorts of formats, including credit cards. There are three main types of RFID cards, each with different applications.

The first type of RFID card is the proximity card . This is your typical hotel key card or access control card used to open doors without using a physical key. These cards work by being close enough to a reader that detects their presence and uses this information to open lock mechanisms.

The second type is the contactless smartcard , which works on the same principle as traditional RFID technology but also has the ability to hold data itself, rather than just sending it back to another device. This means that contactless smartcards have some computing power on-. They have an internal chip that is powered by an internal battery. The information on the smartcard can be changed by either adding new information, or overwriting previous data. This card type is often used for transport passes and identification cards.

The final type of RFID card is the contactless payment , which has become synonymous with Apple Pay and Google Pay. These cards consist of a simple, passive RFID transponder that uses NFC technology to communicate with other devices.. Other types include health care cards, library cards, ID cards, among many others.


What are some applications of RFID cards?


RFID cards have different usages in various fields. Some fields use them for identification while others use them for detailed user data logging. but here are some popular examples:


Contactless payments

RFID-enabled cards are used for contactless payments, which has been on the rise since the mid-2000’s. This includes subway cards and several popular credit cards such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. This application makes use of a short range passive RFID card to transmit its information at distances of a few inches to six feet.


Digital keys

RFID cards are sometimes used as digital keys for cars or hotel rooms. This application requires the owner of the vehicle to first bring their RFID key card close to a reader on the car, which will send out an “open door” command. The same goes for hotel room doors, where a person wishing to enter the room would first have to bring their RFID card close to a reader outside it.


Identification badges

RFID cards are sometimes used as identification badges for employees, as they can store information about who they are and who their employer is. In places where security is important such as hospitals, military bases, and banks, this can be beneficial as it provides an easy way to track information.


Internet of things (iot)

The internet of things (IoT) is another name for the machine-to-machine communications that make smart devices possible. When you think about IoT, you probably think about your phone, but many other devices like home security systems, appliances, wearable devices, and even vehicles are capable of machine-to-machine communications. RFID cards are used in the IoT for tracking, identification and security purposes.


Automatic ticketing in public transportation systems

This application provides seamless transportation experience to customers by reading fare information directly from the RFID card. The customer does not have to open ticket vending machines or head back down for an exit gate. Instead, they can simply board and deboard at certain points and the fare is automatically deducted from the card.


security and access control

This application provides security and access controls to customers by reading whether or not someone is allowed access to a certain area. If the person does not meet predefined criteria, then an alert is sent. Let us take the example of a school. Students are allowed to enter the school premises but not outsiders, so when an unknown person tries entering with an RFID card, they would be stopped by security.


Anti-counterfeiting purposes

RFID cards are used in anti-counterfeiting purposes where customers can check the authenticity of the product by simply bringing their card very close to a reader on the product. Let us take an example of luxury products like watches or clothes that use RFID technology to ensure that it is not fake. This application requires long range passive RFID cards since readers on products are not fixed and the product is moved around a lot.


Benefits of using RFID cards over magstripe card or barcode card:


The following are some benefits of using RFID cards at your business place as compared with the magstripe or barcode cards.


Additional security:

The most obvious benefit of using RFID cards is the additional security it provides inside buildings. All users have to do is bring their RFID card close to the reader without any PIN or code. Unlike magstripe or barcode, where there are chances of getting the card copied and used by someone else, this is not possible with RFID since your card’s unique identification number cannot be copied.


Less processing time:

RFID requires less time for reading information. As stated earlier, you simply have to hold the card close to a reader in order for it to get read compared to swiping which involves slow movement of the card over some physical elements on the machine that captures information about the customer.


Multiple activity:

RFID readers are capable of reading multiple cards at once compared to swiping where you have to swipe your card multiple times in order for it to get read.

RFID is capable of reading tags on the go compared to checking each product one-by-one by scanning them with a barcode reader.



RFID cards are more durable and robust since they are made out of plastic material that can withstand rough handling. Swiping a magstripe or bar code card might damage the info on it. RFID cards are also waterproof, dustproof, etc which increases its durability.

The only disadvantage is that RFID cards are comparatively expensive compared to magstripe cards when you consider the cost per card. However, when you consider that these cards can be used in a variety of places and last for a long time, they are actually cheaper in the long run.


The security of RFID cards when they are being used for payment or access control:


RFID cards use a very similar system of encryption as proposed by the NFC standards that use 3DES, AES and RSA. However, RFID is a much older technology compared to NFC so there are some shortcomings in terms of security with the older standard. The newer NFC standards propose a stronger encryption method using 3DES, AES and RSA which provide fantastic security for payments or access control.

What most people do not realize is that they already have been utilizing RFID technology in their daily lives without even knowing it! Almost all credit/debit cards use this technology along with many public transit systems around the world. It is only when you think about applications like payments or access control that you start realizing how big an impact this technology has on our lives.


Current situation in the market and potential markets for RFID cards:


The current market for RFID cards is huge and growing at a rapid pace. Although the initial cost to set up this technology might be high, it can significantly reduce your operational costs in the long run. According to some industry experts, the total investment in RFID should pay off within 1-2 years! The report by MarketandMarkets shows how big the RFID industry is. According to their report, the global radio-frequency identification (RFID) market was valued at $10.7 billion in 2021 and projected to reach a whopping 17$ within ten years – that’s growth of more than 10% per annum!

For companies that want to integrate this technology into their business processes, the marketing potential of these products is tremendous. The number of applications where RFID can be used are countless! Anything that requires access control or automatic identification can benefit from using this technology. As per report of Statista, the following are some of the sectors that are using RFID cards and technology.

  • Transportation and logistics
  • Healthcare
  • Industrial sector
  • Retail industry
  • Financial services sector
  • Government sector
  • Education sector
  • others

So if you do not have it yet, take some time to think about ways you could use RFID cards at your workplace with the implementation of RFID system – there are loads of possibilities!


Potential growth opportunities for RFID cards:


According to Statista, ” 22.8 billion payment cards i.e. credit, debit and prepaid cards were in circulation in the year 2019, and in the year 2023 the figure is expected to reach 29.31 billion.

Wal-Mart is using RFID technology for tracking their products from factories to stores!

The potential market for this type of business process automation is huge – the retail sector accounts for nearly half of all sales made in the USA alone!

Controlling access to restricted areas at airports, govt secure locations, etc where people might need special approval or clearance also offer a great opportunity. The transportation and transit authorities around the world have already started replacing all paper tickets with plastic cards that use RFID technology.

These facts and figures show that RFID has an amazing future ahead.


What’s the future of RFID cards, will they be replaced by mobile access?


RFID cards are here to stay for many years to come. There is lots of potential for improvement with this technology, but it will take some time before new technologies like NFC or Bluetooth will be able to replace the use of RFID . The main challenge with these new technologies is that they require a different infrastructure compared to traditional RFID solutions – you will need more ‘nodes’ in your network and basically build an entirely new system instead of simply upgrading existing modules!

For this reason and others, we do not expect to see a fast switchover from RFID cards to mobile access. There is some potential for convergence of these technologies at some stage, but it will take many years before we will start seeing NFC or Bluetooth enabled smartcards replacing the existing ones!

So as you can see, RFID technology is here to stay for some time – enjoy all the benefits it brings with it and don’t be afraid of adopting it in your workplace! Our team at Nexqo is always ready to provide custom-made products that suit your specific needs and requirements!

We hope you enjoyed reading our article about “All You Need To Know About RFID Cards”!

If you have any questions or would like to know more about RFID cards, don’t hesitate to contact us!


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