Starting an ID card program is an effective way to increase security in your business – it makes it faster to identify employees and visitors, which is especially important in an emergency or if you need to limit access to restricted areas.

But how do you get a new ID card program started? Our ID experts have pulled together our top tips.

How Will Your Cards be Used?

Before you purchase a printer or start designing cards, you first need to decide how your cards will be used – this single decision has huge effects on ever other choice you’ll make.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s the goal of this program?
  • Will your cards be simple IDs, or will you use them for other things too?
  • Do you need to design and print several types of cards, or will everyone get the same card?
  • Do you need to keep a database of the cards you issue?
  • How many cards do you think you’ll be printing each year?
  • How will your cards be displayed, or worn?

Answering these questions will help you find printers and systems designed to match your specific card needs.

Learn more about using ID cards.

How Will You Display the Cards?

If you’ve decided your new cards need to be visible at all times, and easily accessible for employees to swipe or scan, you’ll need to provide an easy way for your cardholders to display their cards.

You’ve got several options for wearing ID cards:

  • Lanyards
  • Badge reels
  • Strap clips
  • Pins or magnets

Learn more about displaying ID cards.

What Should You Include on the Cards?

Now that you’ve decided how the cards will be used and how you’ll wear them, you can start thinking about what information to include.

Common design elements include:

  • Company name and logo
  • Cardholder name and position or title
  • Employee ID number
  • Issue date or expiration date

If your card will have a barcode, you’ll need to include that in your design. If your cards will have magnetic stripes or smart card chips, you’ll need to design around those features.

Learn more about designing ID cards.

ID Card Security Measures

There are several ways to think about security measures – using the cards to improve building security, securing the printer and system from tampering, and making the cards secure from duplication.

If you want to use the cards to improve security, make sure your security guards and anyone station at building entrances knows how to identify authentic cards. For cards that include watermarks, holograms, or UV printing, give your security guards the tools they need to see these security marks.

For securing your printer, look for ID card printers with physical Kensington locks – these lock your card hoppers and the printer, so someone can’t come in and grab your cards. And look for software with the ability to create user accounts so you can limit permissions for non-admin users.

And finally, there are many design features you can include to make your cards secure. Watermarks, holograms, official seals or crests, imprints, and lamination will all work to help protect your cards.

Learn more about card security measures.

ID Card Policies & Procedures

Finally, you should plan out how the program will actually run. Ask yourself:

  • Who will print the cards?
  • How are cards distributed?
  • How often should we issue new cards?
  • Will we charge for printing replacement cards?
  • How can we cancel or deactivate a lost card?
  • Are cardholders required to display badges at all times?

And more – figuring out these steps before your start handing out cards means you’ll be ready to go when any of this questions come up.

Learn more about card policies and procedures.