PVC Card Basics: Knowing your specifications and options

When ordering unprinted or customized PVC card media, you have many options   that can make your identification initiative more efficient and effective.  General Specifications:   Most standard PVC cards are credit card size or  CR-80  and 30 millimeters thick. The thickness may vary on usage to include 10 and 20 mil options.  If you are going to print your own ID cards make sure you specify "graphics quality" media as they are manufactured to the required specifications of PVC card printers.  You can increase the life of a PVC card by specifying  composite  construction. Composite PVC cards are required for lamination configured PVC card printers. Even if you do not laminate your cards, composite card media is ideal for slotting as the clip area lasts longer eliminating the need for pouch holders.  Tip, specify composite plastic on your next order of RFID cards to make them last longer!  If your cards will be used in a PVC card printer, it is always a good thing to specify  shrink wrapping  per 100 cards to keep your card stock debris free once stored. Keeping debris out of your printer will make it last longer.  Card Options:  Custom printing  can make your ID card pop with the addition of 4 color process inks, UV inks, metallic inks, and spot colors. Consider printing your important message on the back of the card-stock eliminating the need for a duplex badge printer.  For many,  security  is key to the integrity of an identification card program. Deter fraudulent use by considering surface or embedded holographic foils, guilloche patterns or micro text.  Go high-tech by incorporating all of your  card technologies  into a single card: bar codes, magnetic strips, RFID and contactless smart cards. It is recommended to specify composite PVC for technology cards. Specify  "flush mount"  HiCo magnetic stripes, as surface mount or raised stripes are not as reliable. It is recommended to laminate both sides of bar coded cards and the front side of magnetic stripe cards to increase the card's life from surface wear when being swiped. Make sure to understand and document your current card technologies used, including encoding formats, manufacturer specifics, and if you are using any proprietary card technology.  Get personal with your cards by incorporating   fulfillment services .  This can be as simple as consecutive numbering to printing data and photos, attaching the finished ID card to a customized letter, stuffing in a customized and stamped envelope that is then mailed directly to the card recipient or shipped in batches for internal issuance or disbursement.  Identification cards are a great tool for your organization's security and marketing needs. Contact eXpress badging today if you are looking to identify a solution that will make your next ID card program a success. Author: Joe French

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