Difference Between a SIM Card & a Smart Card

By Kirk Reem

A SIM card is a type of smart card.
i sim card image by Yury Shirokov from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Smart cards, or integrated circuit cards, have integrated circuitry built into a plastic card enabling the user to store information or process small amounts of data. A SIM card is one kind of smart card.

Smart Card Uses

Smart cards integrate well with many types of technology and provide a means to identify and authenticate users and store their data. They are used in ATM cards and building security access cards. Smart cards also can differentiate between mobile communication devices.

Types of Smart Card

There are two types of smart card -- contact and contactless. Contact cards have a visible 1cm square contact point that requires the card to be inserted into a reading device.

Contactless cards use RF induction technology to read the card when held in the proximity of the aerial.

SIM Cards

A SIM (subscriber identity module) card is a contact smart card. SIM cards are programmed with a unique serial number and mobile number, and a user can swap the card between cell phones and retain the same contact details.