Amex GCR415 Smartcard Reader

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American Express GCR415 Smart Card Reader

A few years back American Express introduced the Amex Blue, the first US Credit card using smart card technology. During the release of this card, Amex was giving away, free of charge, no questions asked, a card reader to be used with their cards.

This page will provide an outline for hacking that GCR415 smart card reader you were lucky enough to aquire.

About the Reader[edit]

GemPlus Serial Smart Card Reader

The GCR415 is no more than the GemPlus Serial Smart Card Reader with some fancy Amex stickers on it. Any software or data-sheets related to the GemPlus Serial will work with the GCR415.

Images of the reader and other smartcard related images are available in the AOC Smart Card Image Gallery.

General Smartcard info is available on the Smartcard Page

My Progress[edit]


Found appropriate driver for M$ windows 2K, unit installs and works. To install the driver use the dirver (I have it in the archives) for GemPC410 serial card reader. Use the install.exe then go to the add hardware wizard, add "other device" and it should appear with 4 choices the driver that works is GEMPLUS PCR410P Serial Smart Card Reader. Once its installed it is listed in the hardware section under "smart card readers". The utility recognizes the device and can tell when a card is being inserted and removed.I don’t have blank smart cards yet, so its difficult to play further.


Got the goodies together to get the card reader working in Linux (slack 10 kernel 2.4). First you need PC/SC-lite installed then you install the driver. once it installs you need to set up a proper /etc/reader.conf file. You can look at mine.

cat /etc/reader.conf

FRIENDLYNAME "GemPC410" DEVICENAME /dev/ttyS0 LIBPATH /usr/pcsc/drivers/ CHANNELID 1

it works and if you run

pcscd –fg stdout

you can watch the daemon at work…

Then if you install the perl wrapper for pcsc you can use the tools like pcsc_scan in another terminal or after running the daemon in the backgroud. Cool thing about the perl wrapper is you can build runtime compiling apps to work with the reader. This I have yet to play with as I am still waiting for my blank smartcards to come.

Related Files[edit]

All the files listed below are available in the archive at The AOC Archive

Data Sheets[edit]

Windows Software[edit]

Linux Software[edit]

Links and Credits[edit]