There are multiple standard card sizes to accommodate your needs (here).
CR-80: credit card size
M6: advertising area with break-away CR-80
Card / Key Tag Combos
T-Card: door lock key card insert
Door hanger: Do not disturb sign
CR-50: “slim” card
Yes, a custom die can be ordered to accommodate your needs (fees may apply).
Yes. For a physical card, or press proof, the fee is $250 per color per side for lithograph colors and $500 per color per side for Silk Screen colors.*
Epson proofs may be created in lieu of physical cards. Printed on a specialty paper, they are the most accurate physical representation of the card, although they cannot depict Silk Screen colors. Provided they are returned for our reference during print, there is no fee.
Yes. Test cards are most valuable when ensuring compatibility with your system. Blanks with magnetic stripes, encoded magnetic stripes, and/or barcodes may be requested without charge.
Yes. We have a variety of color cores to choose from, as well as 3 metallic colors and clear.
The composition of most cards is the core, print, laminate, and magnetic stripe, but may also include scratch off panels, embossing, thermal or DoD printing, silk screens, or RFID, to name a few. To date, only the PVC core is offered as a recycled material upon request.
This depends on your equipment. An encoder/thermal printer can be outfitted with either a mechanical switch or an optical sensor. A mechanical switch is triggered when the card is inserted. An optical sensor recognizes the insertion of a card by the interruption of a beam of light. Provided the area of the plastic card in which the beam is located is opaque enough, the sensor will trigger the machine to acknowledge the presence of the card.
A barcode is a machine readable series of thin and thick lines and spaces that represents specific data. Most barcodes are accompanied by human readable data in the event the barcode becomes unreadable, allowing it to be simply hand keyed.
There are many types of barcodes. Some of the most common are:
Codabar: numeric only, often used in library systems
Code 11: numeric only, often used for telecommunications equipment
Code 39: alphanumeric, world-wide use
Code 93: alphanumeric, compact code similar to Code 39
Code 128: alphanumeric, world-wide use
EAN-13: numeric only, European Article Numbering for retail products
EAN-8: numeric only, compressed version of EAN-13
Interleaved 2 of 5: numeric only, compact code widely used in air cargo
ISSN: alphanumeric, International Standard Serial Numbering, widely used for print publications
UPC-A: numeric only, Universal Product Code, retail product code for US and Canada
UPC-E: numeric only, Universal Product Code, compressed version of UPC-A
Essentially, it is a tape-like material containing metallic particles that are aligned during the encoding process using magnetic energy. The magnetic stripe stores data, making it readable / writeable through plastic card industry hardware.
There are basically 3 types of magnetic stripes that are most common in the plastic card industry.
Low Coercivity 300 Oersted (LoCo 300 Oe).
Medium Coercivity 650 Oersted (MedCo 650 Oe).
High Coercivity 2750 Oersted (HiCo 2750 Oe).
Coercivity is a measurement of resistance to the magnetic change of a material. High, Medium, and Low are relative terms, thus the Oersted measurement should be used when considering the correct magnetic stripe for your equipment.
Oersted is the measurement of magnetic field strength. For magnetic stripes, it is the specific amount of magnetic energy required to properly align the metallic particles in the magnetic stripe (encode).
Teslin is a synthetic paper substrate that is less rigid than PVC.
Styrene is a plastic substrate that is less durable than PVC.
Yes. We have the capability of printing on paper. This is most often utilized when a card needs to be affixed to a card carrier.
A backing for which a card, typically a gift card, to be adhered. Normally printed on C2S paper, the card carrier is often designed to hang from a store rack.
Coated 2 sides. Paper that has been treated with a coating on both sides. This allows for a smooth surface on which to print while blocking excess ink from being absorbed in to the paper fibers, resulting in a sharper image.
Ultra-violet coating. This coating may be applied after printing to protect the artwork from being scratched or worn by friction.
American National Standards Institute. It is a non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment system.
International Organization for Standardization. An independent and non-governmental organization that develops and publishes international standards.
Film laminate is a thin layer of clear PVC overlay that is cured atop a substrate (PVC, Styrene, or Teslin) during the lamination process. Typically, it is applied after the printing process to protect the artwork from being scratched or worn by friction.
Typically, one type of laminate is used, but various appearances can be achieved; dependent upon the type of lamination plate used during the lamination process.
Polish: High gloss finish, thermal print receptive, affixed magnetic stripe meets industry standards.
Silk: Slightly dull finish, thermal print receptive, affixed magnetic stripe meets industry standards.
Satin: Medium dull finish, receptive to writing with pen or pencil
Matte: Rough, dull finish, receptive to writing with pen or pencil
Thermal print receptive indicates that the surface can sustain a quality print from a thermal printer.
Metallic colors are most often achieved utilizing a Silk Screen Process in which metallic flakes are mixed with clear or colored ink.
This is a process in which ink is applied through a screen mesh. Variations in mesh sizes produce different textures. A silk screen may be used before or after the laminate process.
A personalization feature in which characters are embossed with a punch / die, creating a raised character effect on the card’s surface.
A feature in which foil is applied to the surface of a card via pressure from a heated custom design die, normally made of copper. The foil comes in a variety of colors and designs, but most common are silver, rainbow silver, gold, and rainbow gold.
A feature in which foil is transferred to the tips of embossed (raised) characters via pressure from a heated plate. While many colors are available, standard foils in the credit card industry are silver and gold.
Drop on Demand UV-cured inkjet printing. This process is utilized to print variable data, such as barcodes, QR Codes, or human readable information.
Azusa, California, USA
Billing / Ordering
Any major credit card, net terms (subject to approval), wired transfer, or cash.
Most orders require a minimum of 1,000 total cards, but this may include multiple versions.
Our Account Executives are prepared to assist you through the process. Essentially, all that is required is an artwork, form of payment, and data (if applicable).
Standard is within 48 hours.
Request a Quote: answered within 24 hours (typically less than 2 hours)
Submit artwork and provide payment information
Approve proof / data proof: created and supplied within 24 hours
Typical lead time is 15-20 business days from proof approval. This will vary, dependent upon the number of processes, if personalization is required, quantity, and current workload.
Yes. The rush fee will vary, dependent upon the number of processes, if personalization is required, quantity, and current workload.
Yes. Applicable fees may apply.
Artwork / Printing
Also known as CMYK or 4cp, it is a color build in which cyan(C), magenta(M), yellow(Y), and black(K) are used to create millions of colors within a design. When printing 4 color process on a lithograph press, the design is separated and printed in the 4 color layers. Because process inks are transparent, the overlapping 4 colors produce the desired appearance.
PMS is an acronym for the Pantone Matching System and is used for color matching in the printing industry. Also known as a spot color, it is a specific color that is used on the press in lieu of or in addition to 4 color process.
Some specific colors cannot be achieved using 4 color process. A company logo may require a specific color to be used for the desired appearance.
Using between 1 and 3 PMS colors is more cost-effective than 4 color process.
A process in which the concentration of color is not printed at 100%. For example, a 50% screen of black will produce a gray color. The amount of screen, in addition to color combination, is what produces most printed material.
Artwork / data may be submitted by email if no larger than 20MB. If larger, you may upload to our secure ftp site (view here) or utilize an ftp service (Hightail, Dropbox, etc.).
Specifications are available (view here). Most common is:
Front: layered .psd file with .pdf output representation
Back: outlined vectored .pdf file
Yes. High resolution scans may be acceptable; however, editing (if needed) may be limited and is subject to creative fees.
Yes. We have a graphics department to accommodate your needs (subject to creative fees).
Our creative fee is $80 per hour, $40 minimum.*
A representation of the completed product that must be approved before production begins. There are 3 types of proofs available:
Electronic Proof: electronic .pdf file
Epson Proof: paper copy. Printed on a specialty paper, they are the most accurate physical representation of the card, although they cannot depict Silk Screen colors.
Press Proof: physical card, may be portion or complete.
Electronic Proof: First individual or set of proofs is included, $25 for each revised proof.*
Epson Proof: $25 for each proof not returned and for each revised proof.*
Press Proof: $250 per color per side for lithograph colors, $500 per color per side for Silk Screen colors.*
Yes. By scheduled appointment only, you may view and approve the cards as they are processed.
Data / Personalization
Each track contains a start / stop sentinel and may contain unique technical codes, such as field separators, based upon the Point Of Sale (POS) system / database. The systems can be proprietary, but the characters used are industry standard, making the card universally readable.
Track 1 is alphanumeric (letters and/or numbers) and may contain 79 characters.
Track 2 is numeric (numbers only) and may contain 40 characters.
Track 3 is numeric (numbers only) and may contain 107 characters.
Although any magnetic stripe may be used for any industry, the norm is:
Cards that will be used repeatedly are recommended to have a High Coercivity magnetic stripe, such as financial or casino players club cards, to ensure durability and minimize the risk of demagnetization.
Those with intermediate usage are recommended to have a Medium Coercivity magnetic stripe, such as hotel key cards. Although all 3 types of magnetic stripes are used in the hotel industry, there has been a noticeable transition from Low Coercivity to Medium Coercivity for better durability of data storage, primarily due to more frequent reports of cell phones causing demagnetization.
Cards that will be used minimally or one-time are recommended to have a Low Coercivity magnetic stripe, such as gift, membership, or VIP cards.
It is important that the magnetic stripe on the card is compatible with your encoder/thermal printer. The encoder/thermal printer may have variable settings to accommodate the different types of magnetic stripes, or may have only 1 setting. For the magnetic stripe to be encoded properly, it must be the same as the encoder/thermal printer setting. For the settings of your encoder/thermal printer, please check with your equipment manufacturer.
This is dependent upon your hardware, software, and the amount of space on the card in which you print. Please contact your software provider.
.xls, .xlsx, .csv, or .txt. Provide data that is only pertinent to the card.
Data is determined and generated by the Point Of Sale (POS) system software / database. Some systems may import data, in which case we may generate the data.
Our standard packaging is 500 cards to a sleeve, a maximum of 4,000 cards (8 sleeves) to a case. This will vary, dependent upon card dimensions and/or special requests.
Yes. We can shrink wrap in groups of 10, 25, 50, 100, or 250 cards.
Our standard method of shipment is UPS Ground for up to 50,000 cards, at which point freight is normally used.
* All prices listed are subject to change. Please contact us for current rates.