There are a myriad of possible combinations of card types, but in the real world you are likely to come across the following ID cards:
Standard plastic card
Also known as: PVC card
Description: A simple plastic card, with no added features like magnetic stripes or chips.
Applications: ID only with no access control or payment.
Magnetic stripe card
Also known as: Mag stripe card, HiCo card.
Description: A plastic card with a magnetic stripe on the back.
Applications: Magnetic stripe is used for access control or for payment.
Contact chip card
Also known as: Smart card, Chip card.
Description: A plastic card with a visible chip on the front of the card. Contact is required between the chip and the terminal for the chip to operate.
Applications: Chip is used for access control or for payment. Their speed and relative low cost has made them the choice for credit cards and ATM cards.
Also known as: Proximity card, Prox card.
Description: A plastic card with a chip embedded inside the card, which is attached to an antenna, so that the chip can operate by radio-frequency, meaning no physical contact is required. Most of these cards are known as proximity cards, as they only work at short range – between a few inches to a few feet.
Applications: Chip is used for access control or for payment. For access control, contactless cards are better than contact chip cards for outdoor or high-throughput uses like parking and turnstiles.
Also known as: Combi cards.
Description: Cards that combine contact and contactless technologies. There are two types of these – 1. Those with one chip that has both contact pads and an antenna. 2. Those with two chips – one a contact chip, the other a contactless chip with antenna.
Applications: These cards are the most expensive, and are often used for applications like mass transit or government cards.
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Source by Valerie Douard