Top Ten Techs: Will Smart Cards Be a Reality?

For the past several years, the Top Ten Technologies presented by the AICPA have featured Smart Cards as an emerging technology, but will these wonder gizmos ever have their day in the sun?

According to a report published on ZDNet's Smart Partner, the answer is yes. For some time, vendors have clamored for the opportunity to integrate their services with smart cards, small credit card-style cards that can be used to pay for a wide variety of services and goods, or for authenticating a personal identity.

Smart cards can provide, for example, access to banking, medical records and financial data. The advantage for consumers is that most of us would only carry a few cards compared to the bursting wallet we carry now. Smart cards are already in use by some colleges and universities.

Analysts predict that now is the time for smart cards to take off based on several factors. First, the recent approval of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act paves the way for electronic authorization versus paper-based signatures.

Second, many of the provisions outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 are about to become final. HIPPA calls for electronic claims and payment systems for health plans, as well as increased security that protects patient information.

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