What Is The Difference Between MIFARE Card & RFID Card

What Is The Difference Between MIFARE Card & RFID Card


A Radio Frequency Identification ( RFID ) device serves the same purpose as a barcode or magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card. It identifies the object on the basis of a unique identifier for that object . It is used for identification of objects or people and inventory management. An RFID card is usually used at homes and offices.

 MIFARE technology is for smart cards. There are two criterion to define smart cards; one is the method of writing and reading card data and second is the type of chip within the card and its capabilities. There are three types of cards :

  • Contact cards
  • Contactless cards
  • Multi-component cards

Contact Cards

Contact cards are the most common ones. These have contact area of approximately one square centimeter, and has a lot of gold-plated contact pads. These pads provide electrical connectivity when the card is inserted into a reader.

Contactless Cards

 Contactless cards are proximity cards (these do not touch). These communicate with and are powered by the reader through RF induction. RFID cards, radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) card and MIFARE cards are all contactless cards.

The MIFARE name is derived from the term Mikron FARE Collection system, which is the trademark of NXP Semiconductors. These employ an RFID between the card and the reader and so do not require insertion of the card. Instead, the card is passed along the exterior of the reader and the read.

A contactless smartchip based device includes an embedded secure microcontroller or equivalent intelligence, internal memory and a small antenna, and communicates with a reader through a contactless RF interface. The contactless interface provides users with the convenience of allowing the contactless device to be read at short distances with fast transfer of data. A MIFARE card has a much larger memory than an RFID card and is widely used in hotels as payment cards and for identification purposes.

MIFARE family available for smartcard solutions are MIFARE Classic, MIFARE Plus, MIFARE DESire and MIFARE Ultralight . These offer more than 40 different applications, some of which are limited use tickets in public transport (single and multiple trip tickets, tourist weekend passes), event ticketing (stadiums, exhibitions, amusement parks), loyalty and closed-loop payment schemes, access management, employee cards,school cards, citizen cards and for car parking.

In brief, MIFARE technology , a trademark of NXP Semiconductors, is used for contactless smartcards and is RF enabled. Whereas, RFID is also RF-enabled but is used for identification purposes.