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Understanding The Differences Between MIFARE Ca...

Understanding The Differences Between MIFARE Cards And Proximity Cards

Access control mechanisms are maintaining a constant growth curve around the world. The majority of the access control systems make use of MIFARE cards or proximity cards. These cards can also be used for ticketing, time and attendance, toll, etc.

It can be easy to confuse a MIFARE card with a proximity card and so we share the basic differences between these two cards so that you will be able to differentiate between the two types of cards.



These cards are mainly utilized for recognition, confirmation, and for the purpose of storing information. These cards can store information on the microchip and memory that is embedded in the card. MIFARE cards are durable and can safely store sensitive information. In addition, encryption keys can prevent the emission of data from the card until the card reader and the MIFARE card authenticate each other.


MIFARE cards are different from standard proximity cards in three main ways. These are explained below.

  • The frequency of a MIFARE card is 13.56 kHz and that of a typical proximity card is 125 kHz.
  • Standard MIFARE cards will be factory programmed and will have a unique serial number of 32-bit. The serial number of MIFARE cards will not include a facility code but that of 26-bit proximity cards will have a facility code.
  • MIFARE cards can store values as they have memory. Typically, these cards can store up to 1-kilobyte data. On the flip side, proximity cards cannot store values.


MIFARE cards can be programmed with different credentials and this can add an extra handshake between the ID card reader software and the card reader. The memory within these cards also allows you to use them as prepaid membership cards and cash cards.


Proximity Cards 

Proximity cards have an embedded microchip that has a single function, which is to provide the proximity card reader with the identification number of the card. Most of the systems used for access control read the identification numbers present in the cards and therefore these systems do not need the memory present in these cards. Proximity cards are mainly used to provide door access. Retransfer ID card printers can be used to print on proximity cards and as per the experts, it is not a good idea to use normal ID printers to print on these cards, as these printers might damage proximity cards.