Noob question - payment capability - when?

Not a stupid question. Yes, the part of the card you indicated with 6 contacts needs to physically touch the reader. Here is some info on the ISO standard for contact “smart cards”. Here is some info on contactless smart cards.

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The other reason it’s near impossible to convert those types of cards is that the chip that sits under those metal contacts is typically a “dual channel” chip, meaning it can handle both contact (the metal pins) and contactless in the same chip. That means to convert it, I would have to somehow physically remove that chip from under those metal contacts and then connect a new antenna to it… but that chip is under a glob of epoxy resin and removing it basically destroys it… I don’t have the patience or equipment to do it.