The MIFARE® DESFire® Chip by NXP is one of the best radio-frequency chips in terms of security. Within the MIFARE chip family, it is the top of the range in terms of encryption.

In fact, the name DESFire refers to the use of DES, 2K3DES, 3K3DES and AES hardware encryption to protect data transmission. This type of encryption is considered among the most secure and inviolable. Precisely because of the high level of security, DESFire chips are used for applications related to personal identification, access control, loyalty, micropayments and public or private transport.

EV1 vs EV2 - The main differences

Smart cards with MIFARE DESFire EV2 chip have significant advantages over EV1 type cards.

The most significant aspects, in our opinion, are the following:

  • a higher level of security;
  • more flexible memory;
  • a greater reading distance;
  • data retention up to 25 years.

To these 4 benefits, EV2 cards have backward compatibility with the previous chips, such as the DESFire EV1 and even older D40.

Higher level of security

The improved security aspects are different. In particular, we would like to point out that the evaluation assurance level of the EV2 chip is EAL5+ level, while that of the EV1 is EAL4+ level.

In addition, the EV2 chip supports proximity control. This means that the card is able to confirm to the reader that it is actually close to the reader and that it is not a remote data stream from a hacker.

Finally, the EV2 chip has a separate encryption key management, based on the applications: this allows the card issuer to provide or sell application areas to third parties for personal use, which can be protected with their own keys without knowing the key main card.

More flexible memory

The EV1 chip has a limit of 28 simultaneous applications, while the EV2 has virtually no limits.

Greater reading distance

The reading range, it should be remembered, varies according to the size and geometry of the antenna, as well as the power of the RFID reader used. However, even if a read range of 100 mm is declared in the technical data sheets, we have found a significantly greater reading distance with the EV2.

This can make it seem like a faster transaction, as the POS starts reading the payment card first, while it is still moving towards the reader.


The MIFARE DESFire EV2 chip is rapidly spreading, so much so that its price is the same or even lower than the EV1. This, combined with the advantages of the new chip and, above all, the backwards compatibility, makes us advise to opt for the EV2 model.

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