How secure and confidential are smart cards?

Smart cards actually offer more security and confidentiality than other financial information or transaction storage vehicles, making it a perfect solution for e-commerce transactions. A smart card is a safe place to store valuable information such as private keys, account numbers, passwords, or personal information. It's also a secure place to perform processes that one doesn't want exposed to the world, for example, performing a public key or private key encryption. Smart cards have computational or processing power to provide greater security, allowing verification of the cardholder. Entering a PIN is one method of verification, biometrics is another. The benefit of the smart card is that you can verify the PIN or fingerprint securely, off-line.