I'm a web developer with a login system (in PHP) that I would like to extend to allow those with a smart card to sign into the system. But I have no idea where to begin and I don't have a massive budget to just throw at this. I'd like to keep the cost under $50. Here are a few areas I've researched but can't seem to find what I'm looking for.
1) I need a smart card. No one seems to sell single smart cards at affordable shipping rates (I'm only finding $2 to $5 for a single card and then $40+ for shipping). Then again, I'm not entirely sure which of the 200 varieties of smart card out there is the correct solution for my application. What sort of smart card should I even be looking at?
2) How to write data to the smart card? I'm only finding card readers out there (Newegg). Do card readers write data as well or is there specialized writer hardware?
3) What steps are necessary to get the data onto the smart card? I'm envisioning data from my PHP application that needs to be written to the smart card and then somehow it gets written then later that data somehow gets sent back to the PHP application. Maybe this isn't how smart cards work, but then again I've never held one in my hands. I'm familiar with 3-track magnetic stripe readers and writers but not smart cards.
4) How to set up the web browser to use the smart card? I found some instructions for Firefox on Windows, but what about other browsers and OSes? I feel like once I've got the actual hardware in my hands, this may or may not be obvious but it seems like it should be clearly spelled out somewhere yet it isn't.
5) How to get PHP to recognize and authenticate the user?