0.4.17 • Public • Published


npm node-pcsclite channel on discord

Bindings over pcsclite to access Smart Cards. It works in Linux, macOS and Windows.

Looking for library to work easy with NFC tags?
take a look at nfc-pcsc which offers easy to use high level API for detecting / reading and writing NFC tags and cards



In order to install the package you need to have installed in the system the pcsclite libraries.

In macOS and Windows you don't have to install anything.

For example, in Debian/Ubuntu:

apt-get install libpcsclite1 libpcsclite-dev

To run any code you will also need to have installed the pcsc daemon:

apt-get install pcscd

Once you have all needed libraries, you can install using npm:

npm install @bielorusov/pcsclite --save


const pcsclite = require('pcsclite');

const pcsc = pcsclite();

pcsc.on('reader', function(reader) {

    console.log('New reader detected', reader.name);

    reader.on('error', function(err) {
        console.log('Error(', this.name, '):', err.message);

    reader.on('status', function(status) {
        console.log('Status(', this.name, '):', status);
        /* check what has changed */
        const changes = this.state ^ status.state;
        if (changes) {
            if ((changes & this.SCARD_STATE_EMPTY) && (status.state & this.SCARD_STATE_EMPTY)) {
                console.log("card removed");/* card removed */
                reader.disconnect(reader.SCARD_LEAVE_CARD, function(err) {
                    if (err) {
                    } else {
            } else if ((changes & this.SCARD_STATE_PRESENT) && (status.state & this.SCARD_STATE_PRESENT)) {
                console.log("card inserted");/* card inserted */
                reader.connect({ share_mode : this.SCARD_SHARE_SHARED }, function(err, protocol) {
                    if (err) {
                    } else {
                        console.log('Protocol(', reader.name, '):', protocol);
                        reader.transmit(new Buffer([0x00, 0xB0, 0x00, 0x00, 0x20]), 40, protocol, function(err, data) {
                            if (err) {
                            } else {
                                console.log('Data received', data);

    reader.on('end', function() {
        console.log('Reader',  this.name, 'removed');

pcsc.on('error', function(err) {
    console.log('PCSC error', err.message);

Behavior on different OS

TODO document


Class: PCSCLite

The PCSCLite object is an EventEmitter that notifies the existence of Card Readers.

Event: 'error'

  • err Error Object. The error.

Event: 'reader'

  • reader CardReader. A CardReader object associated to the card reader detected

Emitted whenever a new card reader is detected.


It frees the resources associated with this PCSCLite instance. At a low level it calls SCardCancel so it stops watching for new readers.

Class: CardReader

The CardReader object is an EventEmitter that allows to manipulate a card reader.

Event: 'error'

  • err Error Object. The error.

Event: 'end'

Emitted when the card reader has been removed.

Event: 'status'

  • status Object.
    • state The current status of the card reader as returned by SCardGetStatusChange
    • atr ATR of the card inserted (if any)

Emitted whenever the status of the reader changes.

reader.connect([options], callback)

  • options Object Optional
    • share_mode Number Shared mode. Defaults to SCARD_SHARE_EXCLUSIVE
    • protocol Number Preferred protocol. Defaults to SCARD_PROTOCOL_T0 | SCARD_PROTOCOL_T1
  • callback Function called when connection operation ends
    • error Error
    • protocol Number Established protocol to this connection.

Wrapper around SCardConnect. Establishes a connection to the reader.

reader.disconnect(disposition, callback)

  • disposition Number. Reader function to execute. Defaults to SCARD_UNPOWER_CARD
  • callback Function called when disconnection operation ends
    • error Error

Wrapper around SCardDisconnect. Terminates a connection to the reader.

reader.transmit(input, res_len, protocol, callback)

  • input Buffer input data to be transmitted
  • res_len Number. Max. expected length of the response
  • protocol Number. Protocol to be used in the transmission
  • callback Function called when transmit operation ends
    • error Error
    • output Buffer

Wrapper around SCardTransmit. Sends an APDU to the smart card contained in the reader connected to.

reader.control(input, control_code, res_len, callback)

  • input Buffer input data to be transmitted
  • control_code Number. Control code for the operation
  • res_len Number. Max. expected length of the response
  • callback Function called when control operation ends
    • error Error
    • output Buffer

Wrapper around SCardControl. Sends a command directly to the IFD Handler (reader driver) to be processed by the reader.


It frees the resources associated with this CardReader instance. At a low level it calls SCardCancel so it stops watching for the reader status changes.


Can I use this library in my Electron app?

Yes, you can! It works well.

But please read carefully Using Native Node Modules guide in Electron documentation to fully understand the problematic.

Note, that because of Node Native Modules, you must build your app on target platform (you must run Windows build on Windows machine, etc.).
You can use CI/CD server to build your app for certain platforms.
For Windows, I recommend you to use AppVeyor.
For macOS and Linux build, there are plenty of services to choose from, for example CircleCI, Travis CI CodeShip.



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