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Issuing cards is often essential for many businesses. The need to identify staff, students, contractors and members is always there. And choosing the right ID card printer for your organisation can seem daunting at first. By having answers to a few key questions, your search for the right printer can be simplified.

When looking to purchase a new plastic card printer you will need to consider a few important points.

How many cards will you be printing?

Knowing how many cards you’re likely to print per year, or in any particular print run will allow you to narrow down the options of card printer. If you’re going to print several thousand cards a year, you can exclude most entry level card printers from your options. Manufacturers produce a range of printer models suited for particular needs. Typical Entry Level ID card printers are only designed to produce a few hundred cards a year. Likewise, if you’re only producing a few hundred cards per year, enterprise level card printers likely won’t provide good value for money.

Matching your volume requirements, to those the manufacturer had in mind when going through R&D will give you the most reliability. A rough guide could look like this:

  • Entry Level – 0-2,000 cards per year
  • Mid Level – 2,000-10,000 cards per year
  • Enterprise Level – 10,000 + cards per year

What are the cards used for?

Are you giving these cards to members to prove membership, are the cards for staff to enter a building? These are questions that impact what features and options you’ll need to include in your ID card printer decision. For example; if you’re a registered club printing membership cards. These cards are used to swipe for member rewards, discounts and point of sales and gaming points. You’ll need to ensure the printer is capable of encoding the magnetic stripe.

Many training organisations issue plastic cards as proof of training. The cards include, photo, name, date of expiry and specific course or qualification details. These details a printed on both the front and back of the card. Meaning, for this application a double sided card printer is required.

If you’re using the cards as proof of identity, you really need to consider of there is a risk of reproduction. By adding customised security features to your card, you can protect against unwanted reproduction of your ID cards. Again, this will require additional modules and capability from the base model ID printing machine

Are you going to be judged on quality of the card?

ID and membership cards are essential to help identify staff, students, contractors and members. As a result, many people view these cards as an extension to brand. If you deliver a poor quality card, are you going to be judged?

As a member of a club, do you expect that the photo on your card is clearly you, or are you happy with a dark pixelated image? Similarly, as a government agency or large corporate, branding, quality of print and photo is very important.

You will want to choose an ID card printer that offers high quality printing, clear logo and photo reproduction.

How much are you looking to spend on an ID card printer?

Budget is always an important factor when making any purchase. Often with card printers it’s not a case of the lowest cost printer actually being the lowest cost of ownership. By this i mean the ongoing print consumables can add up as you print more and more cards. You will want to know how much each card is going to cost to print. It may be that you’ll get far more value in spending a little bit more on hardware to reduce your ongoing consumable costs. Especially if you’re printing many thousands of cards per year.

These are just a few of the many questions and considerations when purchasing a new plastic card printer. Navigating the different world of Direct-To-Card Printing and ReTransfer printing can be difficult. As can choosing the right Photo ID Camera system. Luckily, we here to help. Reach out to us today and get the best advice in the industry.