There are many ways to design and print secure cards to deter card tampering and unauthorized duplication – which features you’ll need will depend on your printer, card design, and security needs.

There are two main types of security: physical things like cards with holographic patches, and design options like micro text and ghosted images.

ID Card Printer Security Options

Between built-in printer features and optional upgrades, there are many ways to print more secure cards with your ID card printer. The features you’ll want will depend on how you want to increase security, but the most popular options include things like lamination, watermark-style images, and physical options like tactile impression.

At a minimum, reverse transfer ID card printers have a higher dpi to produce higher resolution images with clearer colors and text, making it harder to duplicate a card and make it look authentic. With their higher resolution compared to dye sublimation printers you can also do thinks like micro text to help verify cards. The printing method also makes the card design more durable and harder to tamper with or alter.

Laminating your cards is another way to deter card tampering, as this adds another layer of protection over your printed cards. In addition to the more common clear laminate film, you can also select a laminate with a holographic design to add another security feature.

Some printers can print hologram-style images over your cards, adding a watermark that makes it easy to identify your cards. All AlphaCard PRO printers come with AlphaGuard Watermark Technology built-in so you can add security to your cards at no additional cost. The printers come with several pre-designed AlphaGuard templates you can use, while the AlphaCard PRO 700 includes one free Custom AlphaGuard.

An increasingly popular security feature is the tactile impression option on the Entrust Datacard SD460 and CR805 ID card printers. Using an impression dye, the printer embosses a design onto your printed card, adding visual and physical security. The impression is made over the lamination film, so attempts to tamper with the card will tear the lamination layer and damage the card design.

Secure Cardstock Options

One way to add security to your ID cards without upgrading your printer is to switch from standard blank cards to visual security blank cards. These cards, available from some manufacturers, come with security features pre-designed in the cardstock:

If your printer manufacturer doesn’t have a secure cardstock options, you can use hologram overlays and stickers to achieve a similar result. These are also an option for adding holographic images to cards you’ve already printed.

Card Design & Software Options

Your card design software may also have some security options, although your printer features may limit which ones you can use. Some common design options include:

  • Fluorescent printing, which requires a ribbon with a fluorescent panel
  • Infrared printing, which requires a ribbon with a UV panel
  • Micro text
  • Ghosted images

Your card designs can also include official seals (common on government-issued IDs), varying levels of opacity, heat-sensitive printing, and more.