Question Smart Card Reader for Lenovo Thinkpad (P1 Gen 2)

Aug 16, 2019
Just purchased a custom preset build of the P1 Gen 2 from the Lenovo website, and I selected the smart card reader because it was only 20 bucks so why not. I had no idea what it did so I looked it up and got very confusing answers, some saying that its for government ID cards, or for encryption of company computers and use employee IDs to unlock them, etc. I had so many questions...

Can I use it for encrypting the computer or even encrypting specific files on the computer itself? That would be cool. If I can, what kind of card do I need, what model or type? What brand is the best? Is it encrypted or should I get encrypted cards? Can the computer read AND write on the cards, or just read? Because if it can only read, would I need to buy another machine to write on it? How do I even use the card? Can it only read cards with chips... or maybe theres another kind of smart card? Can it read a credit card? etc etc etc...

I called customer support, was a huge waste of time... Got connected to a sales guy who didn't know anything, then he transferred me to "technical experts" which I kid you not, asked me for basically all of my personal info down to my ADRESS (which I refused to give) and then after that was put on hold for 10 mins and the lady came back with EVEN LESS INFO on the card reader than the sales guy... "Yeah so its like a slot to put smart cards in it and it can be used to encrypt the computer. Large companies and the military use it." It was probably the same info I found online myself. Its honestly sad. Anyways, sorry for my rant haha, anyone think they can answer these questions for me?

When the computer does arrive, I will be running a linux OS on it, (monjaro and maybe later on, bedrock linux).
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That slot accept smart cards (looking same as modern days debit / credit cards with chips). You won't get any smart card by itself. The card itself does not have any capability yo encrypt files / file systems etc, it only knows how to keep keys secure. You must get smart cards from somewhere, and software to manage them (load keys). I'd recommend checking Linux security websites about smart-cards support.