The Complete ID
Printer Buyer's Guide

This guide walks you through all the important considerations you'll need to know when selecting an ID card printer.

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Encoding Options

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There are several ways to encode cards, each designed to hold a different style or amount of data – not all ID card software can encode every type of card, so be aware of what type of encoding your software can do.

  • Barcode Encoding

    Barcodes are the most common type of encoding, a feature found in almost all ID card software from the most basic level to the advanced versions.

  • Magnetic Stripe Encoding

    Requiring specialized cards and a printer upgrade, magnetic stripe encoding is more expensive than barcodes but available in almost all card software.

  • Smart Card & RFID Encoding

    A specialized form of encoding, smart cards and RFID cards use chips or wireless antennas. Smart card encoding is often an advanced feature in card software.

  • Proximity Card Encoding

    Often found only in the most advanced card software, proximity cards are used for access control to unlock doors in place of a traditional lock and key system.