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What is ISO 14443?

ISO 14443 is an international standard that describes how contactless cards and terminals should work to ensure industry-wide compatibility.

ISO 14443 is all about contactless and security.

For example, it plays a key role in:

  • identity (contactless ID cards, electronic passports),
  • payment (contactless credit cards),
  • mass transit (MIFARE, CIPURSE, or Calypso schemes),
  • access control applications (contactless ID badges).
ISO 14443 is a standard designed for proximity or contactless smart card communication. It typically uses a 13.56MHz radio frequency that only transmits digital data within a short range - about 4 centimeters or less - beyond, the signal is too weak. It can never exceed 10 centimeters.
iso 14443
Do you see the contactless symbol at the right of the chip? This wave-like logo means your card is contactless.


This contactless standard has been developed by the ISO, the International Organization for Standardization.

Technical committees comprised of experts from the industrial, technical, and business sectors developed the standards to increase levels of quality, reliability, and interoperability on an international scale.


ISO 14443 and its 4 layers

The ISO 14443 is divided into four separate parts outlining:

  • physical characteristics,
  • radio frequency,
  • signal interface,
  • initialization and anti-collision and transmission protocol.

Thales has always had a strong involvement in the ISO definition of the chip card standards and has participated in the development of this international standard in particular.

Is my US passport contactless?
​​contactless passport
Yes, the golden symbol printed at the bottom of the front page indicates that the US passport integrates a contactless electronic chip. They were first issued in 2006​. 



More resources on ISO 14443 and contactless