Mifare Plus vs. Mifare Classic: Delving Deeper into Similarities and Differences

Mifare Plus vs. Mifare Classic

The contactless smart card technology landscape is ever-changing. However, MIFARE has established itself as a revolutionary variable in the equation. Thanks to its sequence of integrated circuit chips. Catering to industries spanning hospitality, manufacturing, and logistics, MIFARE chips are embedded in smart and proximity cards, facilitating secure and efficient contactless transactions.

This article delves into the MIFARE ecosystem, focusing on two major players—MIFARE Classic and its upgraded counterpart, MIFARE Plus.

What is MIFARE?

MIFARE is a series of integrated circuit (IC) chips. These chips are usually embedded with smart and proximity cards for contactless transactions. Industries like hospitality, manufacturing, and logistics use this technology for various purposes.

There are two major types of MIFARE IC chips: the Mifare Classic and its predecessor the Mifare Plus.


MIFARE Classic

MIFARE Classic

MIFARE Classic was invented in 1994. Ever since it was made available in the market, this technology has changed contactless smart cards’ image to its users. And, up until today, it is used worldwide for different purposes. The smart ticket IC operates at 12.5 MHz regarding its read/write capability and ISO 14443 compliance.

MIFARE Classic’s EV1 is currently the most elevated version in the tier. Designed for multi-use technology cards, MIFARE Classic is versatile and secure, with applications ranging from access control to public transportation. However, it’s worth noting that MIFARE Classic has faced security concerns, with documented practical attacks on its system.




MIFARE Plus is MIFARE Classic’s successor and is still made by NXP Semiconductors. Since it is an upgraded version of MIFARE Classic, users observe a more seamless migration to higher security standards.

Moreover, it is suitable for various applications, including Smart City services and contactless infrastructures.


MIFARE Plus vs. MIFARE Classic


1. AES Encryption Implementation

As mentioned, MIFARE Plus is the advanced version of the MIFARE Classic technology. Thus, it introduces several important enhancements, especially on the security side of things.

One of the primary areas that differentiates the plus from the classic is the AES Encryption. It is a robust cryptographic algorithm that protects the data stored within the MIFARE Plus cards. This upgrade is one of the solutions to the widespread security breaches and fast-paced technological advancements.

2.  Addressing inherent vulnerabilities from the predecessor

By strengthening its encryption mechanisms, MIFARE Plus is capable of combatting and preventing risks. Most of these technological challenges are associated with unauthorized access, data manipulation, and other security breaches.

As technology innovates each year, threat actors are becoming more aggressive in breaching systems. To avoid these things from happening, NXP Conductors decided to level up MIFARE Classic to MIFARE Plus.

3. Improving MIFARE performance

NXP Semiconductors wanted to address the predecessor’s security vulnerabilities. As a solution, they incorporated advanced encryption protocols into MIFARE Plus.

Aside from the mentioned, there are other relevant reasons behind the NXP conductors’ initiative to migrate from MIFARE Classic to MIFARE Plus.

Firstly, to provide better support for modern security standards. Users can enjoy its compatibility with contemporary authentication and encryption requirements. Secondly, users need more confidence using MIFARE Classic, especially in access control and payment.

A seamless transition to a more robust and secure platform becomes imperative to maintain the system’s integrity and safeguard sensitive data.

As a result, various applications consider the plus a more secure option.

MIFARE Plus vs. MIFARE Classic: Comparison Table

Here’s a concise comparison table for MIFARE Plus and MIFARE Classic:


Feature MIFARE Classic MIFARE Plus
Memory Structure Fixed Memory Structure Similar to MIFARE Classic
Memory Operation Standard Memory Operation Backward compatible mode with MIFARE Classic systems
Security Standard security Enhanced security
Introduction Date Older technology Introduced as an upgrade for MIFARE Classic sytems
Recent Developments MIFARE Plus EV2: Better read performance and faster transaction speed compared to MIFARE Plus EV1



This table briefly overviews the key differences between MIFARE Plus and MIFARE Classic, considering memory structure, operation, security, introduction date, and recent developments.

When Do You Use MIFARE Classic and MIFARE Plus?

MIFARE Classic and MIFARE Plus are utilized in various industries based on their features:

MIFARE Classic

As said, MIFARE Classic is initially a pioneer version. It suits multi-technology cards and finds applications in access control systems for less security-demanding environments. You can use this in places like corporate offices or leisure facilities.


As we discussed, it is preferred in high-security applications over its classic version. This is due to its enhanced security and compatibility with existing infrastructures. MIFARE Plus is considered a secure replacement for MIFARE Classic.

This version is best for you if you want to ensure premium control with different areas in your business office or facility.

So, which is better between the two?


Choosing the Right Fit: MIFARE Classic or MIFARE Plus?: A Recap


The decision to use MIFARE Classic or MIFARE Plus hinges on specific needs and security requirements. While affordable and reliable, MIFARE Classic is best suited for less security-demanding environments like corporate offices or leisure facilities.

On the other hand, MIFARE Plus is known for its exemplary security features. It is the go-to choice for sophisticated applications requiring a higher level of protection. This can also be your option if you want something that offers compatibility with your existing infrastructures since it has a backward compatibility feature.


Choosing the Right Fit

In conclusion, the MIFARE Plus vs. MIFARE Classic debate depends on your business software’s specific needs and security considerations.

Take note that indeed MIFARE Classic remains a cost-effective and reliable option. Yet, MIFARE Plus shines in scenarios where enhanced security is badly needed.

As technology continues to go on an upward trend, security threats evolve. Thus, making this decision is very crucial. If you want to make choosing between these technologies become a strategic decision, do not hesitate to contact us at JLTCard.

We will ensure that your contactless smart card system aligns with the latest standards and offers the protection necessary for your unique use case.



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