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Smart Cards for Pensioners

New Contactless smart card technology can now be used to protect pensioners from being targets of pension theft.

Murton System Technologies is developing Contactless smart card products in South Africa based on the Philips Mifare technology, a global standard for Contactless smart cards to the world market.

Contactless cards are different to traditional smart cards in a number of important respects.  The Contactless smart cards can only be accessed using secure data encryption standard (DES) keys and the actual communication between the card and the reader is encrypted to DES3, giving a high level of security. 

There are no off-the-shelf devices that can be used to read or tamper with the card data and readers are also tamper proof because they have no slots like their traditional reader counterparts. 

The cards are immune to static electricity and have no electrical contacts, and are therefore extremely rugged.  They do not even need to be removed from a wallet for a transaction to be made, making them unsuitable targets for would be ‘card snatchers’.

There are already applications available for road tolling and parking and the Contactless smart cards act as a secure money purse proving to be the way forward to a cashless society,” said Murton System Technologies MD Brent Maurer.

“Pensioners are probably experiencing the exceptionally high prevalence of crime - both the conventional kind as well as the white collar kind - as much or even more than any other citizens, and have very little means of protection from becoming prime targets. Contactless technology is providing a solution which will ultimately obviate the need for both pensioners collect, and governments to to distribute cash at month end,” said Maurer.

The new technology removes a number of hazardous situations for pensioners.  One such example, recently in the news, was of Pensioners being robbed of their income when employees, working at pay points, deceptively informed them that their money was not yet available, and that they should come back the following month.  Employees then kept the pension for themselves. A large number of pensioners were defrauded in this way.

“By programming the pensioner’s details into the card, only that person is able to use the card because the card is able to hold a finger print or even a retina scan of the individual.  Committing fraud, stealing or attacks on pensioners collecting money will be fruitless,” he said.

Pensioner will also be able to use any Contactless smart card reader, avoiding the need to go to a specific pension payout point.

“The cash is recorded straight onto the card ensuring no cash is handled. The card itself, together with biometric identification is the wallet. The possibility of pensioners being attacked or robbed is therefore significantly decreased,” said Maurer.

"The Contactless cards can hold up to 15 different applications.  This means that a card can be used for shopping or as a bus ticket, phone card or even a season ticket to a sporting event," he explained, “and pensioners can use this same card to collect their pension.”

The products supplied by MS Tech will be targeted at applications where dynamic information can be stored and updated on the card, as well as environments where off-line operation is of the essence.

"It has two major advantages over its competitors. Firstly, all Mifare products have to be certified by an independent body, guaranteeing that they are compatible.  Secondly, companies are working together to strengthen and extend Mifare as the standard for Contactless smart cards, while independently developing their own Mifare products, providing customers with a broad and competitive range of products," noted Maurer.


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