A smart card is a credit card-sized plastic card with a special integrated circuit (IC) chip imbedded in the surface of the card. The IC chip stores information in electronic form. There are two principal kinds of smart cards. One is a microprocessor, and the other is memory. The IC chip in the card provides intelligence sufficient to protect its information from theft or damage.
A key feature of smart cards is they provide secure storage for data. Smart cards must support authentication and authorization. The card holder is authenticated through a PIN (Personal Identification Number) or other mechanism, and can be authorized to access only particular data on the card, or carry out a particular range of activities with the card.