Smart card contains electronic memory, and possibly an embedded integrated circuit (IC). Smart cards have two different types of interfaces– the contact smart card and the contactless smart card. Contactless smart cards only require close proximity to a reader to enable the transmission of data, commands and card status, hypothetically taking less time to authenticate versus contact smart cards. Both reader and card have an internal antenna that securely communicates with the other.
Contact smart cards must be inserted into a smart-card reader. The reader makes contact with the card module electrical connectors that transfer data to and from the chip.
Contactless smart cards is normally a credit card sized plastic card which is embedded with an integrated circuit chip. It provides not only memory capacity, but computational capability also. Because of this characteristic, smart cards are often used in different applications which require strong security protection and authentication.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a generic term that is used to describe a system that transmits the identity (in the form of a unique serial number) of an object or person wirelessly, using radio waves. A RFID system consists of an antenna and a transceiver, which read the radio frequency and transfer the information to a processing device , and a transponder , or tag, which is an integrated circuit containing the radio frequency circuitry and information to be transmitted.
Mifare card is a type of RFID. Philips has developed Mifare MC1 1C S50, Mifare MC1 1C S70 to be used in contactless smart card according to ISO/IEC14443A. The Mifare system is designed for optimal user convenience. The high data transmission rate allows transactions to be handled less than 100ms.
“A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card (ICC), is defined as any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits which can process information. This implies that it can receive input which is processed – by way of the ICC applications – and delivered as an output. There are two broad categories of ICCs. Memory Cards contain only non-volatile memory storage components, and perhaps some specific security logic. Microprocessor cards contain volatile memory and microprocessor components. The card is made of plastic, generally PVC, but sometimes ABS. The card may embed a hologram to avoid counterfeiting.”
You can read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_card#Contact_smart_card