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Plastic Card Directory

Here you will find a number of frequently used terms in the card industry with a short summary. Further information can be found on Wikipedia. We have tried to provide you with a link for most the terms.


A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows certain data on products. (

Black core layer is an extra sheet in the core of a paper scratch cards under the location of the personalization, making sure the information can't shine through the back of the card.

Bleed is the area of artwork that is extended beyond the actual dimensions of the card which should always be included when supplying us with your artwork to avoid white bars around the edges of the cards.

Coercivity is the intensity of the applied magnetic field required to reduce the magnetization of that material to zero after the magnetization of the sample has been driven to saturation. (

Contact smart cards have a contact area, comprising several gold-plated contact pads, that is about 1 cm square. When inserted into a reader, the chip makes contact with electrical connectors that can read information from the chip and write information back. (

A second type of smart card is the contactless smart card, in which the chip communicates with the card reader through RFID induction technology. These cards require only close proximity to an antenna to complete transaction. They are often used when transactions must be processed quickly or hands-free, such as on mass transit systems, where smart cards can be used without even removing them from a wallet. (

CR80 is the standard 'Credit Card' size, basically the size of most of the plastic card you hold in your wallet. The cards are 85.60mm (3.4?) x 53.98mm (2.15?), and 0.76mm (30 mil) thick.

Embossing is the process of creating a three-dimensional image or design on plastic cards. For example the golden or silver text on your credit card. (

Encoding is the process of transforming information from one format into another. In this case we program the data to a chip of magnetic strip. (

Flip chip bonding is the latest RFID/Proximity chip interconnecting method. Instead of using copper coil (antenna) the chips is connected with aluminum coil, which is pasted to the connection points on the RFID chip. This allows the smartcard to become even thinner than before. Mass transit companies often use these type of cards with for example Mifare ultralight chips.(

HiCo magnetic strip is one of the two options. High-coercivity magnetic strips are more difficult to erase, and therefore are appropriate for cards that are frequently used or that need to have a long life. The magnetic strip can be produced in many different colors. (

Hot stamping is a dry printing method in which a heated die and foil are used to apply graphics to a surface. This is one method of security printing. (

Inkjet printing reproduces a digital image by propelling variable-sized droplets of liquid or molten material (ink) onto a card. After the card has been personalized the ink will be dried immediately, with UV lights. (

Lamination is a small layer of plastic on top of your card. This thin see through layer will bond with the card through heating process. The result is a strong card that is protected against water and dirt. (

Laser engraving is the personalization practice using lasers to engrave or mark the card. The technique is more complex then the other options for personalization and a little bit more expensive. (

LoCo magnetic strip is one of two options. Low-coercivity magnetic strips can store less data compared to the HiCo card. The most frequent used LoCo's is the 300Oe. The magnetic strip can be produced in many colors. (

MIFARE is the most widely installed contactless smartcard or proximity card chip technology in the world. (

Oersted is the unit to measure the coercivity of for example magnetic strips. (

PET (Polyethyleentereftalaat) is a good alternative for the standard PVC cards. These cards have a long life span (4 to 5 years) and are there for less damaging for the environment. (

PETG (Polyethyleentereftalaatglycol) is and even better alternative to replace PVC. These cards have life span of 6 to 7 years and are there fore even less harmful for the environment as the standard PET cards. (

Point of Sale is the location where a transaction occurs. A "checkout" refers to a POS terminal or more generally to the hardware and software used for checkouts, the equivalent of an electronic cash register. (

Proximity cards is another term to describe contactless cards, these are cards with an intergrated circuit device. Examples of proximity/contactless cards are the Mifare 1K (S50), Mifare 4K (S70), EM4100 etc.(

A special print technique that applies an additional layer on the card and gives it is unique character. Many companies that would like to give their loyalty or gift cards something extra use it.

Radio Frequency Identification is the technology that is being used in our contactless cards. The chip sends out a continuous signal true a copper wire inside the card. Information on the chip can be accessed when the card is close enough to the reader. This distance varies per chip. (

Scented ink is special ink that will let your card smell to your own preference. There are different scents available including: rose chocolate, strawberry and coffee.

The scratch off layer ia a latex (usually) layer that conceals a part of the card. In the case of mobile phone recharge cards this is usually a number. And in the case of scratch & win cards it's often a sequence of pictures or numbers that can generate a price. (

A signature panel is an area on the plastic card which can be used to write on. Normally you'll find the signature panel on the back of for example your credit card or loyalty card. Nowadays more options are possible and a transparent can be applied over a part, or the entire surface of the card.

Thermal printing is the process where trough heating an image is created on the plastic card. This is where the cards are being personalized with a number and/or text in black (other colors are possible). The printer uses the uploaded data in a excel file and will personalize 1 line per card. Thermal printers use print ribbons to print. (

UV or Ultra Violet is mainly used as an additional security option, the ink becomes visible when its held under a UV lamp. (

When enlarging (zoom-in) on a vector graphic there will be no loss in resolution. Marketing and/or advertising companies might have sent you such a logo. (

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