Card Craziness

PVC, PET, Mag strip, barcode, proximity, smart and the list goes on. With all these terms being thrown around it’s sometimes hard to know what you’re even looking at let alone finding what you need.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) cards can be just blank plastic cards. Nothing too special about them. These are perfect for printing IDs and membership cards that DO NOT function as door keys or access cards. Typically as an ID you could print your employee or member’s picture and general information such as an ID number. Plastic cards like these are perfect for visual identification. These cards could also work as business cards! These cards are available in a range of colors. These cards are perfect for simple IDs and business cards.

Next we have barcodes. They are printed on the PVC or PET cards mentioned above. This is perfect for membership cards and reward cards because with the right software you can do things such as point systems and logins. Better yet, you don’t need any special equipment to print a barcode! You just print it with the same printer that you would print the ID card with. Bar codes should make you think of rewards cards, membership cards, and ID cards.

Magnetic Stripes or Mag stripes are commonly seen on g. They are used by banks and credit card companies for transactions. These are what you use if you want to print gift cards. Another common use is as an access control. As an added layer of security, you can add swipe access to your buildings or secure areas. These cards offer a blank side and a back side with the stripe. With the blank side you are free to print it as you would any other card, full color pictures, text, whatever floats your boat. The back is typically where you would offer restrictions if it was a gift card or credit card. Many printers offer an upgrade that makes encoding these easy! You just then need compatible software to then read it. So when you look at mag stripes think gift cards, membership cards, and access cards.

I haven’t lost you yet, have I? Next we have the technology cards…

The technology cards come in multiple styles. You can get them to look like standard PVC cards where you have restrictions on how you slot them. You can get them in a style called clamshell which is a little thicker card that comes slotted. Then there are PVC disks/patches that adhere to your current card to upgrade a non-technology card without having to reprint everyone’s ID. Lastly you can get a key fob style. They are little plastic devices similar in size and shape to the fob on your car keys. They can be programmed the same way that the other options can be.

Proximity Cards are used for access cards. You are able to print barcodes on them and utilize that as well. With proximity cards you code in a key and then you are set. You can touch it to a reader to open a door. You are able to print images on them much like the other cards mentioned. Some come pre-slotted for your convenience. You can get clamshell proximity cards, proximity (prox) keyfobs, and proximity disks if you want something different than just the standard looking card. When you think proximity cards you should be thinking access cards.

The technology on the rise right now is Smart cards. They do so much more than proximity cards. These cards utilize programming such as iClass, MIFARE, and DESfire to work as access software. These can be used for more than access though. They can be reprogrammed as needed. They have memory for things such as cashless vending such as on a college dining hall. This technology is available as cards that look like standard PVC cards, clamshell cards, fobs, and PVC patches. These are ideal for college IDs, bank cards such as credit and debit cards, as well as access cards for facilities with multiple locations.

It’s a lot to look at but hopefully this helps some!

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