Introduce great flexibility, better security, and improved access control in your business facilities with the help of smart cards. They are ideal security solutions to live up to the expectations of new normal life and come with exceptional features to deliver better consumer interactions.

In this guide, we will take you through different types of smart cards and the technologies responsible for their seamless operation. Scroll down further to know more!

What is a Smart Card?


A smart card is a type of contactless access card made from composite PVC material and metal. Security professionals utilize this card for controlling entry into buildings. It comes embedded with a microchip, that enables wireless communication with the card reader.

Scientifically speaking, a smart card is primarily an advanced and improved version of standard proximity cards. It features a better memory, excellent interoperability, and utilizes a 13.56MHz frequency for fast and seamless operation.

Types of Smart Cards

Depending on the technology, capabilities, and features, smart cards come in the following two types:

  • iCLASS Cards
  • MIFARE Cards

Let’s understand them one by one.

iCLASS Cards


HID invented and introduced iCLASS smart cards in 2002 with the help of unique proprietary technology. They are ideal access control solutions for professionals who need a high level of security in their facilities.

Security professionals and access control systems enthusiasts favour and utilize these cards for following the reasons

  • Better Security – Data is encrypted and the card utilizes mutual authentication every time with the card reader before transferring the data wirelessly. This is done to make sure your important data doesn’t fall in the ownership of an unauthorized person or party.
  • Rewriting capability – Unlike a proximity card, iCLASS smart cards come with exceptional rewriting capability, with the help of which you can store and write data multiple times on a single card.
  • Good storage capacity – iCLASS contactless access cards can store a good amount of data in its commendable memory size in the range of 2k – 32k bits.

iCLASS Smart Cards are further classified in the following categories:

  • iCLASS
  • iCLASS Seos

Let’s explore and understand them one by one.



iCLASS is a standard smart cards category and utilizes a frequency of 13.56 MHz for communicating with the card reader.

It comes in nine-subtypes, each equipped with the following specifications and features.

  • Multi-technology iCLASS smart cards with the availability of HITAG1 and HITAG2 for migration
  • Made from composite PVC and available with additional functionalities like smart chip and a magnetic stripe for better interoperability
  • Meets ISO standards and can be used with direct image and thermal transfer printers
  • Available in 256, 2000, and 4000 bytes memory configurations and offers exceptional capabilities
  • High durability with a communication frequency of 13.56 MHz

Here are some of the best-sellers in Dubai, UAE, and Doha, Qatar



This card category utilizes ultra-high frequency SIO-enabled credentials and high frequency for seamless communication with card readers.

iCLASS SE smart cards come in nine-subtypes, each inbuilt with the following specs and key features:

  • Ideal security solution for long-range parking and gate control
    Incredible interoperability
  • Useful and compatible for a wide range of applications
  • Comes preloaded with SIO-enabled MIFARE Classic, MIFARE DESFire credentials, and proximity dual technology
  • Meets data authenticity and privacy needs with the assurance of multi-layered security from HID Global
  • Data is protected with the encryption keys

Here are some of the best selling iCLASS SE smart cards in Dubai, UAE, and Doha, Qatar.



Security enthusiasts foresee iCLASS Seos cards as the next generation of credential technology.

They come with a robust software infrastructure, versatile interoperability, and high-end encryption capabilities. This category of smart cards come in the following subtypes:

  • Seos® 500x – High-frequency smart card ideal for physical and logical access control systems with minimal security needs
  • Seos® + Prox – Great solution for organizations with advanced and more secure access control systems needs. Compatible with the conventional prox reader.
  • Seos® + iCLASS® + Prox – A brilliant and multi-purpose security solution for workspaces with iCLASS, Seos, and Prox readers.
  • Seos® + iCLASS® – Dual technology-enabled smart card ideal for multiple applications
  • Seos® + MIFARE® – Good choice for organizations with Seos and MIFARE readers
  • Seos® + DESFire® – This smart card comes with MIFARE DESFire EV1 implementation, perfect for organizations with advanced security requirements



MIFARE is a global brand, popular for designing and manufacturing contactless smart cards.

They are useful in a wide range of applications and comes in the following types:

  • MIFARE Classic
  • MIFARE Plus
  • MIFARE Ultralight

Let’s explore and understand them one by one.

MIFARE Classic


MIFARE Classic smart cards operate in the 13.56MHz communication frequency range and compliant with ISO 14443. They are renowned for revolutionizing the contactless smart card and popularly used in access management, public transport, colleges, and offices. These cards are good for facilities with basic security requirements.

MIFARE Classic EV1 is the latest and popular member of the MIFARE Classic smart cards family and comes in two versions depending on the memory capacity: 1K and 4K bits. It is robust, highly advanced, and offers best in class performance for a wide range of applications.:



MIFARE DESFire smart contactless cards were designed to meet the advanced security requirements of solution developers and system operators.

DESFire technology offers fast secure data transmission, great interoperability, and memory storage capacity. Today, they are used widely in access management, public transportation, loyalty programs, and government social service cards,

The most popular smart contactless cards in the MIFARE DESFire family are:

  • MIFARE DESFire Light

Let’s explore them one by one.


EV3 smart card is the successor to EV1 and EV2 and designed to offer exceptional performance, greater distance operability, and improved transaction speed.

Plus, it comes with a Transaction Timer feature that allows you to set a maximum time for a transaction, thus avoiding relevant vulnerabilities like man-in-the-middle attacks.


MIFARE DESFire Light is a cost-effective and highly secure contactless smart card with good integration abilities.

It is an ideal solution for single door applications and has a memory capacity of 640 Bytes. Security professionals and system designers recommend this card for simple applications with basic security needs.


MIFARE Plus is an advanced, high-end upgrade of the MIFARE Classic family of smart cards. It utilizes AES security for authentication and encryption and comes compliant with global standards.

This category was designed to meet the advanced security requirements of a smart city. Here are two of its best-selling smart cards in UAE, Qatar, and different nations on the globe.


MIFARE Plus EV2 is an EAL5+ (Evaluation Assurance Level) certified product, designed to meet the security and connectively needs for a wide range of smart city applications.

Plus, it is a compelling and attractive upgrade over existing security solutions. This card also comes with exciting features like a transaction timer, AES 128-bit cryptography-based authentication, and secure communication.



MIFARE Plus SE is the base and entry-level smart card with 1K memory and commendable cost-effectiveness.

It is compatible with MIFARE Classic systems and ideal for a diverse range of applications including public transportation, loyalty cards, car parking, and in making user identity cards for schools, colleges as well as offices.

MIFARE Ultralight

The R&D team designed MIFARE Ultralight contactless smartcards family to create access control and management solution for high-volume applications in a cost-effective way.

This card category comes with a MIFARE RF interface communication layer and compliant with global standards. MIFARE Ultralight comes in three sub-types depending on the security requirements, capabilities, memory storage capacity, and features.

MIFARE Ultralight C

The MIFARE Ultralight C is a fully ISO/IEC 14443 A 1-3 compliant smart card with anti-collision support and 106Kbit/s communication speed.

With an operating distance of 10 cm and memory storage of 144 bytes, this product is ideal for limited use applications. Plus it offers cloning protection as well.


MIFARE Ultralight EV1

MIFARE Ultralight EV1 comes in two memory options 48 and 128 bytes and made for revolutionizing the conventional paper ticketing system in limited use applications in the entertainment, travel, and leisure industries.

It offers exceptional fast read command with 13.56 MHz operation frequency to speed up transactions and comes with memory write protection to avoid fraudulent activity. Today, MIFARE Ultralight EV1 is used widely in event ticketing, loyalty cards, and public transportation systems.

MIFARE Hospitality

As the name suggests, this contactless smart card is designed and made by tailoring the security needs of the hospitality industry. It allows the guest for gaining secure access to hotel rooms and facilities.

Plus, it enables user-friendly mobile interactions for Wi-Fi pairing and comes with a configurable EEPROM memory of 96 bytes. Other key features include anti-collision support, a communication speed of 106 kbit/s, and protected data access with the assistance of 3DES authentication.

Final Thoughts

That’s all from us in this comprehensive and informational guide. We hope by now you must be aware of different types of smart cards, their key features, subtypes, and applications.

Where to Buy?

Let Stebilex Systems Help You.

Deciding on the right type of smart card can be challenging depending on your security needs, industry, and budget. We at Stebilex Systems, a pioneer distributor of access control smart cards in UAE & Qatar understand this and do our best to suggest and deliver the finest product to meet your security requirements. Contact us today to know more about us and discuss your questions with our highly qualified product experts.

Do you need help with your Access Control or Biometrics projects?

Let experts at Stebilex help you today.