Reading Credit Cards and ID Cards

The idea of collecting debts is at least as old as the concept of money itself, if not older. Some Americans may dread the very word “debt,” associating it with hopeless bankruptcy and hefty medical bills or rent. But while that may sometimes be the case, most often Americans have a quite casual and harmless relationship with debt. In fact, Americans experience debt several times per day, such as when someone buys groceries or items at a hardware store or refuels their car. Strictly speaking, once these customers obtain an item or service, they are charged for it, and that is the debt. Such a debt won’t last long, though, once the customer offers cash, a credit or debit card, food stamps, or any other payment method like that. And today’s debt collection goes well beyond credit cards at the grocery store, including e-commerce as well. But what is a smart credit card reader? And what about ID scanners or ID readers, or ballot scanners? All of these scan-related technologies have an important role to play.


Scanners and smart chips have more applications than finances, but money transactions are common application for such tech. Smart credit card readers are a fine example, but what is a smart credit card reader? Someone wondering “what is a smart credit card reader?” may be interested to find out that such devices read the information on a circuit on that card. Many modern debit and credit cards have, in addition to their magnetic strip and printed information, a smart chip in them. These chips are easily visible as gold or silver-colored little squares on the card’s surface, and they are quite useful. What is a smart credit card reader doing with those chips? Preventing ID fraud, for one, as these chips have extensive counter-measures to prevent an unauthorized person from using another person’s debit or credit card, and transactions made with those cards are tracked in data banks. The owner of a smart card may rest assured that they are much less likely to have their finances misused by someone else.

These smart chips may convey other information about the user as well, such as that person’s age, which is helpful for when someone attempts to purchase age-restricted items. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are a fine example of this, and someone aged 20 may try to buy liquor, only for their card’s chip to reveal their date of birth to the cashier. And smart or not, these credit and debit cards are extremely common and useful for nearly all American consumers, preventing the need to carry around a lot of bulky cash and giving them access to potentially thousands of dollars (either theirs or from the credit card company). And if a credit card is compromised or unusable, or even becomes a liability, the owner may cut it into pieces with scissors, destroying it as a debt payment item. Most Americans make use of credit card loans both to make purchases and build up their credit score, and these plastic cards are the key to those loans.

Other Uses for Scanners

It is pretty clear that scanner technology is greatly useful for paying debts at stores or for services rendered nearly anywhere. But the technology of scanning does not end there. Voting today in the United States is aided with electronic ballot scanners, which will be fed the proper voter forms and read the contents. Only specialized voter papers should be inserted into them, and even then, they must be oriented correctly. Assuming that everything is done right, the scanner machine may collect hundreds or even thousands of unique voter papers and log their contents, making ballot counting fast and easy. That, and on-site staff, may make for very low rates of voter fraud. Today, the rates of voter fraud in the United States are extremely low, and this may be partly thanks to the work of electronic ballot readers.

Personal ID cards and passports are another arena of scanner tech, and a person may have their ID card scanned before they purchase age-restricted items or services if a smart chip reader is absent or doesn’t apply. At airports, handheld or larger scanners may be used to authenticate passports of airport guests.

About: Eric

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