A detailed guide to choosing a smart card for ACS

A detailed guide to choosing a smart card for ACS

Based on the conclusions of Memoori analysts, the ACS market segment is expected to grow: in 3 years, the market volume will reach USD 12 billion. The primary sources of rapid growth are the need for high invulnerability and security of private and public companies.

Along with the popularity of access control systems, the need for smart cards (hereinafter referred to as SВ) is increasing. In this article, you will find a detailed guide on the criteria for their selection.

What is a smart card?

Smart means intelligent. From the name, it is clear that the card is the “brains” of the access control and management system, equipped with an operating system.

Pros of SD:

Types of operating systems

The operating system in the SMART card is responsible for interacting with the reader and transferring data. There are two types of operating systems:

  1. Dynamic. All data on the card is easy to change; developers are free to create applications. This type of OS includes JavaCard (JCOP) and MULTOS.
  1. File. Devices on such an OS can encrypt and securely store information in large volumes. They are used in the access control system.


The appearance of a smart card can be different: key chains, cards, bracelets, small stickers, etc.

Let’s divide them into two groups:

  1. Purpose-based (memory card-counters; microprocessor and super smart-card).
  2. Based on access option (contact / non-contact).

But in whatever form the card is provided, there is always a chip inside it.

What SD to choose?

Today, two types of smart cards are gaining popularity for managing access control systems. Let’s consider them in more detail.


This type is gradually becoming a thing of the past due to the rapid development of technological progress and the COVID-19 pandemic. These circumstances force people to have less contact with things and each other.

The device assumes that the contacts (they are on the outside) are attached to the CM reader when it is inserted into the reader.

Variations without contact

Contactless technologies are replacing the old varieties of access cards, paper passes, and identification cards. Today, companies, educational institutions, and other organizations that need checkpoints actively use contactless access control systems (ACS) using credentials on smartphones and Face ID technology. The user needs to bring a mobile phone to the reader for the system to work.

Contactless smart cards use RFID radio frequency, which transmits data remotely.

Integrated systems are capable of:

  • maintaining “white” and “black” lists;
  • automating reports on detailing working hours;
  • promptly notifying the operator;
  • signaling alarms and interacting with law enforcement.

For more information on contactless access, read our article “The Gold Standard Principle of 2021 Contactless Access“.


ACS is often upgraded using various sensors and video surveillance. Optimizing the system is best done with smart cards that encrypt and protect data. Thus, smart access cards provide the overall security of companies, facilities, and businesses in general. 

Александр Вебер

Alexander Weber

Specialist in video surveillance, video analytics, cloud storage systems. Consultant on the integration of video surveillance systems and tools in various business sectors. Over 10 years of industry experience.

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