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(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (io) Pub. No.: US 2003/0056019 Al
Kehr et al. (43) Pub. Date: Mar. 20,2003
(30) Foreign Application Priority Data
Mar. 30, 2000 (DE) 100 15 775.0
(51) Int. CI.7 G06F 15/163
(52) U.S. CI 709/310
The invention relates to a card terminal (1) and to a method for operating a card terminal (1) for a card (7) comprising at least one card function (12, 13, 14) and a non-volatile storage (11). According to the invention, the card terminal (1) firstly determines the card function via a device (5) and, according to the card function, a data processing device (2) of the card terminal (1) is subsequently configured with regard to the software.
Patent Application Publication Mar. 20,2003 Sheet 2 of 2 US 2003/0056019 Al
CARD TERMINAL AND METHOD FOR
OPERATING A CARD TERMINAL
 The present invention is based on a method for operating a card terminal according to the preamble in claim 1 as well as a card terminal having the features set forth in preamble of claim 13. Moreover, the present invention relates to the use of a card having at least one card function and at least one non-volatile data storage device.
 A card terminal as well as a method for operating the card terminal are known. Such card terminals have a card reader and a data processing device, the card reader and this device being interconnected. These card terminals are implemented, for example, as automated teller machines which allow a customer to carry out banking transactions using a suitable card. Cards of this type, which are also referred to as smartcards, have at least one card function. In the present case of the automated teller machines, for instance, the cards have a function for receiving cash at these machines. The card has a non-volatile data storage device in which customer-specific data is stored. This data includes, for example, the account number or the like. In most cases, the data is stored on the card in encrypted form so that unwanted access by third parties is at least made more difficult.
 To be able to use the card function, a suitable executable or application program is stored in the known card terminal. This program supports the card function, that is, allows it to be executed on the card terminal. Consequently, the known card terminal is limited to a specific card function. Therefore, the known card terminal is not very flexible.
 Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a method for operating a card terminal as well as a card terminal of the type mentioned at the outset which feature high flexibility.
 This objective is achieved in a method for operating a card terminal having the features specified in claim 1. This card terminal is designed for a card which has at least one card function and a non-volatile data storage device. The method according to the present invention has the feature that the card terminal initially identifies the card function and that the card terminal is then configured with regard to the software as a function of the card function. After the card is inserted into the card terminal, initially the card function is identified, as mentioned above, and subsequently, a suitable configuration means is loaded into the card terminal as a function of this card function. Configuration means of that kind can be, for example, so-called "card drivers" which make it possible for the card terminal to communicate with the inserted card. In most cases, these card drivers are needed as configuration means because the data stored in the non-volatile data storage device is not in all cases stored in the same format on different cards. However, configuration means can also be executable or application programs (applications) which support the card function or cause it to be executed on the terminal side. In the method according to the present invention, therefore, the configuration with regard to the software consists in loading at least one configuration means into the card terminal. Thus, the method according to the present invention has the feature that the card terminal is highly flexible because the appropriate configuration means is/are loaded into the card ter
minal only after the card function has been identified. It is therefore possible to provide card terminals which are identical in terms of hardware for different cards or different card functions. It is only by the inventive configuration with regard to the software that the card terminal is adapted to the corresponding card function, allowing the desired user function to be carried out.
 A particularly preferred exemplary embodiment has the feature that a communication connection to a network element which is assignable to the card function is established via a network interface of the card terminal for configuration. This network element can then have stored therein the configuration means which is then loaded via the network into the card terminal where it can then be executed. In a network having a plurality of card terminals, therefore, it is always possible to provide or carry out the desired card function at arbitrary card terminal locations.
 Thus, in a refinement of the present invention, provision is made for the network element to transmit at least one configuration means to the card terminal as a function of the identified card function. This configuration means can be a card driver which allows communication between the card terminal or card reader and the card. Thus, in a particularly preferred embodiment, the card terminal can be provided with a "minimum software" which simply allows identification of the card function while the card is inserted. To permit further communication with the card, the card driver will then be loaded.
 In a particularly preferred exemplary embodiment, the card function is identified using at least one identifier which is stored on the card. Each card has at least one identifier which is assigned only to this card, it being possible for each identifier to be stored in the non-volatile data storage device as a combination of letters and/or numbers. The at least one identifier can also be stored in encrypted form. To permit identification of the card function, this at least one identifier is read out via the card terminal and at least one card function is identified as a function of the identifier. Thus, provision can be made for the at least one card identifier stored on the card to be designed in such a manner that the card function can be uniquely identified.
 To allow the card terminal to be configured with regard to the software accordingly, provision is made in a refinement of the present invention that the card terminal determines from the identifier the network address of the network element. Thus, the identifier can be coded accordingly, providing a clear association with a network address to permit easy identification of and also access to the appropriate network element.
 According to a particularly preferred embodiment, provision is made for the card terminal to determine from the identifier query parameters which are routed to the network element to obtain from the network element at least the one configuration means which is assigned to the card function and which will then be executed in the card terminal. If, for instance, a plurality of card functions are stored on the card, or if a single card function requires a plurality of configuration means, then these can be obtained from the network element via suitable request parameters.
 According to a further refinement of the present invention, provision is made for the card terminal to estab