This article will tell you what a card reader is and how to use it.

A card reader is a data input device that reads data from a card-shaped storage medium.

Card readers can be divided into contact and contactless IC card readers and remote readers according to different types of cards. The contact IC card follows the ISO7816 standard interface, while contactless IC card follows ISO14443 standard interface. And remote readers follow ETC GB20851 standard interface.

Memory card’s interfaces are not uniform. The main memory cards types include CF card, SD card, MiniSD card, SM card, Memory Stick card, etc.

RFID (Radio-frequently-identification), remote reader, is the wireless use of electromagnetic files to transfer data, for the purpose of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. For instance, in ETC operating system, it can read and write IC card data within 10 meters.

Memory cards are widely used in smart phones and cameras. In broad terms, smart phones and cameras have become the card reader. Card readers can also be divided into CF card reader, SM card reader, PCMICA card reader and memory stick reader by the types of memory cards.

In addition, there is a dual-slot card reader that can support two or more cards at the same time. Besides, according to the port type, card readers can be divided into three categories: serial port reader, parallel port card reader and USB card reader.


Card reader is a hardware device that lets you read and transfer data from various portable memory storage devices. It can be a standalone device that connects to a computer via USB or it may be integrated into a computer, or multifunction device.

Commercial versions of the card reader can read security smart cards. Most card readers accept multiple memory cards formats, including Compact Flash and Secure Digital. Besides, most multifunction printer/scanner/copiers now have built-in card readers, thus you can take the advantages of printers to print photos.

Some card readers can only access one kind of memory card while some memory cards integrated the functionality of card readers. Therefore, as long as you insert this kind of memory card in the USB port, computer can directly access its data.

Advantages and Disadvantages


Compared to other methods, using card reader can make you quickly access various files. In addition, it is a plug and play device.


If you use inscribed card reader in Windows, lots of empty “Removable Disks” may appear in your computer, which will bring much inconvenience. (But now, Windows 7 and Windows Vista have solved this problem. After you insert the memory card, computer will display the corresponding “Removable Disk”. If you remove memory card, however, the “Removable Disk” will disappear.) If the add-on card reader is used, this problem is unlikely to occur. But, it needs a USB socket.

Tip: After connecting your SD card or USB flash drive to a computer via a card reader, if you find the device shows 0 bytes, what should you do to get back data? MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good choice. This post Fear of Data Loss since USB Shows 0 Bytes – Get Fixed Today shows you more details.
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