The debate between RFID and smart cards technology is an ongoing one. There is no clear definition that describes RFID and smart cards, and at times these two terms are used interchangeably, due to lack of awareness, resulting in confusion between the differences.
Confusion is especially strong between contactless smart cards and RFID. The key issue that has given rise to this debate is the contact less interface and that too an RF (radio frequency) one. Both contactless smart cards and RFID use radio frequencies for communicating between the card and reader. The applications for which RF is used can be different for RFID and smartcards. RFID is mainly meant for applications within the supply chain, for track and trace. Contactless smart cards on the other hand are mainly meant for payments/banking, mass transit, government and ID, and access control. This article aims at clearing the confusion between the two technology definitions.
RFID and smart cards both can be used in transit applications and most of the time they are used together to provide increased convenience to end users.