Most people will think credit or debit card when asked about plastic cards, which is understandable as they’ve been around for many years.
The first credit card or what was actually a charge card (had to be paid back at the end of the month – no rolling credit) was the Diners Club card in 1950.
We tend to forget that there was a time with credit cards before the swipe, chip and pin or contactless where you had to sign your name with a pen! Seems so old fashion now!
Technology in the Plastic Card
Because the card is semi-rigid, technology can be added to the card, so here are a list of add-ons you can consider:
- Magnetic Strip
- RFID Chip
- Chip and Pin
- Variable data
Magnetic Strip – Data Storage
This is the brown, black or silver strip across the back of a card, which can be programmed with data which a reader can interpret.
The card readers can then be programmed to carry out various actions such as paying for something, granting access or identifying someone, such as clocking in for work.
Barcoding – Black and White
Quick and easy to scan, the humble UPC barcode has been around since 1974 and is now extensively used for tracking and monitoring stock. They can be used on plastic cards to give discounts, add loyalty points, identify people and provide access.
Personalisation – Knowing Who You Are
Ideal when security is an issue. A picture of the person, their name and any other specific data that helps identify who they are can be added to the card. Checking the face on the card matches the person or just having the persons name on a membership card which can be shown at the door are ways personalisation can work.
RFID Chip – Radio Frequency Identification
Contactless payment is now becoming normal and can make it very fast to make small payments. We live in a world where convenience and impatience mean businesses are having to look forever simpler ways for interaction to be performed.
Security of RFID cards
Go on YouTube and you’ll see videos of people stealing info from RFID cards and we can now buy RFID blocking technology, such as wallets, but try and find statistical data on how many people have been hacked in this way and you’ll come up blank! Also, the RFID cards of today use encrypted data, so it would appear the only people talking about the need for blocking technology are those selling it.
Chip and Pin – Remember Your Pin
Place your card in a card reader and enter a 4-digit pin code, which has been the standard way of making card payments for some time. This principle can be applied to more than just purchases, such as areas of security where access needs to be limited.
Contactless can also be used in conjunction with a pin code. Collection of data can also be part of the security, so you know who’s accessed what area or if you need to understand movements.
Variable Data – Each Card is Different
Different bar codes can be printed on each card, to create a simple individualised tracking capability. Numbers such as serial numbers can be printed where each card has its own unique number.
What Size Should Your Card Be?
As with many things, there are standard sizes, although you can have different sizes if needed. The general sizes are (there are small differences):
- 85mm x 54mm
- Key Tags or fobs – 28.5 x 54
The key tags can come as part of a standard card that snaps off the end or a card that snaps into 3 key tags. The key tag will usually have a hole in one end for easy attachment to a key ring.
What are Plastic Cards Made From?
They can be made from a variety of plastics, some of which, are eco-friendlier than others, such as plastic cards that decompose or made from recycled plastic. The main plastics used are:
If You Have any Questions about Whether Plastic Cards are Suitable?
We’re here to help, just send an email or give us a call.