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Plastic ID Cards


Choosing the Right Plastic ID Card

A plastic ID card performs numerous functions every day and that’s why choosing the right card for the right application is so important. Before you purchase, we recommend discussing this project internally to determine all possible uses for an ID card within your organization. Different departments may have different expectations, and asking questions ahead of time provides a good foundation for a successful card program.

Determine card use

Time and attendance, access control, photo ID. Will your card serve single or multiple functions? What plastic ID card options do you need? This depends on the level of security at your facility. Options vary; you can add a bar code, magnetic stripe, hologram, fingerprint verification, or custom printing with your company name and graphics.

You can design and customize your plastic ID card. Create your own plastic ID card using ID Card software. Is an employee photograph required? Not always, but a photograph is still one of the best ways to identify employees, visitors, and temporary personnel. Does the card need to be laminated? While lamination isn't always required, we recommend it. Lamination provides a coating and protects the card surface from its environment. Can a Plastic ID Card be used in a payroll function? Yes. Companies are replacing paper checks with debit-style bank payroll plastic ID cards.

Card Applications and Markets

  • Photo Identification
  • Access Control
  • Debit-Style Payroll
  • Time & Attendance
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Food Service
  • Gift and Loyalty Cards
  • Government Facilities
  • Manufacturing Plants
  • Nursing and Retirement Facilities
  • Hospitals and Medical Centers
  • Park & Recreation Facilities
  • Phone Cards

Zebra Plastic ID Card Information

Zebra's Premier and Premier Plus Plastic ID Cards
Three common card types can be used with Zebra card printers: ABS, PVC and Composite PVC. ABS cards should only be used with monochrome printer ribbons. PVC and Composite PVC cards can be used with color and monochrome printers. Zebra's Premier line of durable plastic cards enhance the print quality and image sharpness needed to produce vivid colors and detailed readable bar codes. Zebra offers Premier (PVC) cards, available in 10 and 30 mil thickness; as well as Premier Plus (Composite PVC) cards available in 30 mil thickness. (30 mil cards are 0.76 mm thick. 10 mil cards are 0.25 mm thick). Both types of cards are available in packaged sets of 500 or 1000 cards with an easy to read label with the Zebra part number in numeric and barcode form. All cards meet ISO 7810 ID-1, CR-80 specifications (2.125" x 3.375") (53.98mm x 85.72mm).

Premier (PVC) Plastic ID Cards
Premier (PVC) Cards provide high image quality, medium flexibility and temperature durability. They are recommended for all applications requiring edge-to-edge printing. They are available with or without a magnetic stripe (LoCo or HiCo). The estimated life for Premier cards is 24 months with 3,000 duty cycles. Applications for PVC Plastic ID Cards are cards with moderate usage and controlled environments such as transit passes, visitor badges, identification cards, and loyalty cards.

Premier Plus (Composite PVC) Plastic ID Cards
Premier Plus (Composite PVC) Plastic ID Cards provide high image quality, high flexibility and temperature durability. They are available with or without a magnetic stripe (LowCo or HighCo). The estimated life for Premier Plus cards is 48 months (4 years) to 84 months (7 years), depending upon design and usage. Composite PVC cards are stronger because they are made up of a polyester core and sandwiched with PVC (60% PVC and 40% polyester core). These Plastic ID Cards are used in application environments that are uncontrolled and require high usage such as time and attendance, access, control, equipment check-out, and multi-application university ID cards. Premier Plus cards are recommended for use with the P500 when laminating both sides of the card or when producing true ISO flat Plastic ID Cards is necessary. The P500 patch will also help to extend the life of the card.

Note: All 10 mil Plastic ID Cards and adhesive back cards are not recommended for color dye sublimation printing.

Not sure how to choose
an ID card printer?

  1. Approximately how many cards will you
    print per year?
  1. Do you need to automatically print on
    both sides of the card?
  1. Do you need a magnetic stripe?

The Complete Card
Printer Buyer's Guide

With such a wide range of ID printers, evaluating the options can be overwhelming. This FREE 7-step guide will walk you through choosing the perfect card printer.


Get Help from an ID Expert

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