ID card 'chip' has no function

Current versions of the ID cards have contact plates similar to chip-and-PIN credit cards, but cannot be used to carry out electronic transactions

Critics of the government's ID card project have long questioned its usefulness, but it has now emerged that one of the card's most eye-catching elements does not do anything.

ID cards issued in the UK currently carry a gold-coloured contact plate, similar to those found on credit cards with chip and PIN functionality.

But the contact plate on current ID cards cannot be used to carry out any sort of electronic transaction: the chip inside the card doesn't contain the information necessary to connect to a card reader via the plate.

For more on this story, see ID card's gold is just for show on