Radio Equipment directive and passive RFID products

Radio Equipment directive and passive RFID products

Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU impacts the way in which the RFID products are placed on the European market. Eurosmart issued on 6th November a position paper to present its understanding of the Directive. Besides, in order to clarify the scope of the directive, Eurosmart addressed a list of questions and recommendations.


Eurosmart position paper

Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU

The Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive 1999/5/EC establishes a regulatory framework for placing and putting into service radio and telecommunications terminal equipment on the free market. It was repealed by the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU that has been applicable since 13 June 2016. After a transitional period, equipment covered by the Radio Equipment Directive must be brought into conformity by 13 June 2017.

The new RED guide issued by the European commission in 19 May 2017, specifies that “Non-radio products (e.g. passports, credit cards) which are tagged are not radio equipment and do not require CE marking and contact details for the purposes of RED.”

Eurosmart’s understanding of the new Radio equipment directive 2014/53/EU

  1. As mentioned in the guide, credit cards, passports are examples of products that do not fall under the radio equipment directive;
  2. All passive RFID products are the same objects in the meaning of the Directive (see attachment). Such passive RFID products do not use any battery. Therefore, passive RFID products are not radio equipment and administrative provisions such as CE marking, class specification, serial number and identity of the manufacturer do not apply.
  3. However, administrative provisions of the directive 2014/53/EU apply to active RFID products using a battery or an active antenna.

According to our understanding, the guide is not refined enough, therefore national authorities could interpret the provisions of the directive in several ways (see below).

Eurosmart enjoins the European Commission to confirm the followings:

  1. Since passive RFID products do not fall under the RED, out of consistency reasons the respective supply parts shall not fall under the directive either.
  2. For active RFID products is the notion of “placeing on the market” in our view too vague. As stated by TCAM 20, the correct application of the RED must focus on the identification of the end user of the active RFID product when the product is placed on the market. Eurosmart recommends to precise (e.g. in the RED-Guide) at which stage in the value chain the product must be compliant and the conditions under which the product fall under the RED.
  3. As long as a new firmware does not change neither the behavior of the contactless interface nor the safety or security aspects of the product, it cannot be considered as a new product in the meaning of the directive.


Exemples of passive RFID products which do not fall under the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU

1. Public sector cards

2. Financial sector cards

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards

3. Private sector cards

a) Commercial cards
  • Company cards
  • Loyalty cards
  • Ski pass
b) Web Access cards
  • FIDO token
c) Transport cards
  • Transport contactless tokens
d) Building access cards