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Can I Print on Pre-Punched Cards?

The short answer is yes, but with a few caveats.

First off, let’s define what pre-punched cards are. Pre-punched cards or slot-punched cards are plastic cards that have slot holes either on top or on the side where a clip, a strap, or a lanyard can be attached. The slot holes are created using slot punches.

ID Superstore does not recommend running a pre-punched card through a direct-to-card printer as doing so could lead to unexpected outcomes, which include:

  • The ribbon breaking or sticking to the card;
  • Card jams due to the sensors operating incorrectly; and
  • Printhead damage

Note that any damage or malfunction that is a result of non-standard operation will void your warranty coverage.

If you absolutely have to print on pre-punched cards, your best option is to use a retransfer printer like the Fargo HDP5000, Datacard SR300, or the Zebra ZXP Series 8 printer. Unlike direct-to-card printers where the printhead prints card images directly onto the surface of a blank card, reverse transfer printers print card artwork on the reverse side of a retransfer film, which is then thermally applied to the surface of a blank card. No part of the printhead touches or interacts with the pre-punched card.


For more information about pre-punched cards, talk to our card experts at 1-800-667-1772. You can also reach us through our contact page.

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