Mifare Smart Cards

What is Mifare?

Mifare is a 13.56 MHz contactless technology owned by Philips. It complies with ISO14443A – the industry standard for contactless smart cards. Mifare cards are powered by an internal antenna as the card moves into a magnetic field. Mifare has proven popular as the card to use in ticketing and low value transactions.

How secure is the data on a Mifare card?

  • the radio transmission between the Mifare chip and the reader is encrypted.
  • each sector can have its own 48 bit keys for read and write access, this allows multiple applications from different vendors to operate on the same card.
  • access to data from each sector is protected with a 48 bit key.
  • the actual data stored on the card can be either encrypted or not encrypted.
  • each sector can be read only.

What are the benefits of a Mifare card?


  • the card can be used for multiple applications.
  • secure encryption prevents unauthorised access to information stored on the card. This makes it extremely difficult to copy a Mifare card.
  • being contactless, there is reduced maintenance required for card readers as well as less wear and tear on the cards.
  • the Mifare chip can be embedded in alternatives to cards; such as fobs or watches.
  • Mifare cards do not need to be inserted into a reader, instead they only need to be presented within the range of the card reader. This will allow read and write operations to be performed.
  • each card has it’s own unique card serial number.
  • can be used in a wet environment as card reader card be sealed.


  • Higher cost than magnetic stripe cards.

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