A magnetic stripe card, also called swipe card or magstripe card, is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card. It is read by swiping past a magnetic reading head. Magnetic stripe cards are used in credit cards, identity cards, and transportation tickets. They may also contain an RFID chip for access control or electronic payment.
Magstripes divide into two main varieties: high-coercivity (HiCo) at 4000 Oe and 2750 Oe (most common), low-coercivity (LoCo) at 300 Oe. Coercivity means the magnetic material’s resistance to becoming demagnetized, it is usually measured in Oersted (Oe) units to indicate the magnetic stripe’s strength.
- require a higher amount of magnetic energy to encode, harder to erase
- Best for frequently used cards or cards requiring a long life
- Card writers are more costly than LoCo recording machine
- Ideal for credit card, access control card, library card, employee ID card, and membership card
- require a lower amount of magnetic energy to encode, easier to erase
- have a shorter lifespan
- card writers are much cheaper than HiCo recording machine
- Ideal for hotel room card, time and attendance card, bus ticket, gift cards, theme park ticket
HiCo and LoCo magstripes can be read by any card reader. A HiCo card writer may write both HiCo and LoCo cards, but a LoCo card writer may write only LoCo cards.
Now, magstripes can be made on each Mifare smart card with a little cost. Magstripe additional cost.
Do you have any idea which kind of ID card printer will best suit your needs? Imagine you’ve been assigned to find the best ID card printer for your company. What’s the best ID card printer available? The short answer: there isn’t a “best” printer. But the following highlighted points may make it simple to compare for your selection.
- Printer type: whether it is direct card printing or reverse transfer card printing
- Volume / print speed / print sides
- Operating system / software / encoding techniques
- Brand Evaluation
1/ Printer Type
- Direct card printer (Low Equipment Cost, Low Printing Cost):
also known as Edge to Edge Printing. Direct to Card is where the print-head comes in direct contact with the card. This printing type is the most popular today mostly because of the cost factor of the printer.
- Reverse transfer card printer (High Quality but High Cost):
also known as High Definition Printing or Over the Edge Printing. Reverse transfer print-head prints to a transfer film backward (hence the reverse) and then the printed film is rolled onto the card with intense heat (hence the transfer). Over the edge is because when the printer prints onto the film it has a bleed, so when rolled onto the card it’s completely over the edge leaving no border. It can be used for outstanding visual quality and durability.
2/ Volume / print speed / print sides
Choose the right model to handle your specific requirements. If you need to print on both sides, do not choose a single side printer. It will take you more than double the effort because a misprint or misarrangement will cause you the cost of the card.
3/ Operating system / software / encoding techniques
If there is a particular encoding technique requirement and the printing quantity is large, make your chosen printer has incorporated this function.
4/ Branding Evaluation
There are really a lot of brands out there in the market. Take your time to study the reviews on the Internet based on your requirements.
Check out AliExpress for Quality ID Card Printers
Proximity card, also known as Prox card, is a “contactless” smart card which can be read without inserting it into a reader device. Held near an electronic reader for a moment they enable the identification of an encoded number. The reader usually produces a beep or other sound to indicate the card has been read. Proximity card led by HID card has been widely used in the office door access and airport access control in the USA.
- Read-only (1st generation) and Read/Write (2nd Generation)
- Frequency: 125 kHz
- Long reading range: up to 50 cm (< 15 inches)
- Application: Access control (mainly)
- Cost: very low
- Security: high
Go to AliExpress buy Proximity cards and tags
MIFARE is NXP’s well-known brand. Mifare card has embedded integrated circuits in which the chip communicates with a card reader. Its main function is for storing data, storing values and authentication. Commonplace uses include transit tickets, school cards, passports, and bank cards etc.
- Read & write
- Short Reading distance: up to 10 cm (3 inches)
- Frequency: 13.56 MHz
- Standards: ISO/IEC 14443
- Application: security, identification, access control, payment system, time and attendance, mass transit system
Mifare cards have much wider application use and the cost has been reduced significantly, that’s why nowadays people are moving to multi-function Mifare cards.
See our Mifare Product Line
This is a typical question faced by many companies or schools when they need an employee’s badge or student ID badge for door access or time attendance.
When that happens, the critical question is – Is it best to print your ID badges in-house or outsource the task?
Print Your Own Badges
Of course, in-house printing is convenience and you can print it anytime. Most printers are affordable and will output an ID in under 30 seconds. This enables you to create new IDs immediately, as well as replace lost ones.
There is no need to contact your vendor and then wait a week or two for delivery. However, the quality of most low-end printer will have a difficult time to print on a thick contact-less smart card. Sometimes, the edge is misaligned and the color on the edge is fading. The blank application formated smart card can cost up to a dollar and it will be a waste to throw it away if the printing is not good enough.
Outsource Smart ID Cards Printing
For small companies, outsourcing can notably lower the overall cost of your card issuance program. There’s no need for additional hardware, staff, or training. Plus the outsourcing company you work with will likely be able to help you with your design needs – and advise on any additional security items or features on your badge. Simply call up your vendor or order from an online portal such as Buysmartcard.com
In the old days, it difficult to find a vendor that will print a couple of cards for you. With the advance of digital printing on the smart card industry, printing a few cards is very easy or low cost with very high quality. But the shipping may take longer.
Print Your Own Badges
- No need to order your badges and wait for their delivery
- Ability to replace any lost card on the spot
- Must purchase everything needed for an ID Program – card printer, cards, ribbon, card design software, printer cleaning supplies and more
- Can be expensive
Example: Go to AliExpress for ID Card Printer
Outsource Smart ID Cards Printing
- No need to choose, invest in, and maintain expensive equipment and supplies
- No need to have in-house design skills
- Higher printing quality
- Cannot print on demand
- Cannot replace a lost badge on-the-spot
- May not receive your custom cards in a timely fashion
See ID Printing
In addition, you can outsource your ID badge design at a cost of US $5 to $20 from a very popular site Fiverr
Slot punching a card makes it easy and convenient to use with accessories like the lanyard, badge reel or batch holder that needs a hole to clip through. It is important to print your cards first before using a slot punch.
The process of slot punching is better done in the factory for the following reasons:
- Slot punches can be hard on the user’s hand if you are slotting multiple cards a day
- If you aren’t careful enough it is easy to break your card or even your card printer
- Contactless smart cards have a system of copper antennas embedded within the card – if you slot punch in the wrong spot and cut those wires you will damage your card
- The factory will make sure that the cards are free of imperfections before delivery