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ID Cards 101: Should I Go with Paper or Plastic?

When tasked with the important responsibility of making ID cards for your company or organization, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by big picture stuff like card design, security features, smart functionality and budgetary constraints. Sometimes that preoccupation with the big picture can lead to missing small but important details.

One of the little details often neglected is the type of card stock used to create the ID cards. This is actually an important aspect of ID production. That’s because the card stock you select significantly affects your finished card’s functionality, longevity and security.

There are two types of card stock available for making ID cards – Paper and Plastic. Here’s a quick overview of both to help you decide which is best for you.

If you are printing basic ID cards for a class of 40 kindergartners or for your comic book club of 25 members, you’re better off using paper card stocks. They are cheap, they don’t require any special card printing equipment or software, and are readily available.

But if you are making photo ID cards for a university, a hospital or a business, you should definitely invest in sturdier plastic card stocks. While they do require plastic card printers, they offer robust security features that make your ID cards extremely difficult to forge or tamper with. Plus, you can add smart functionality like automated access control, cashless payments and attendance tracking, among others.

In addition to their security function, your ID cards are a representation of your business or organization. As such, it’s imperative that they look professional and are finished with professional materials.


For assistance in creating professional photo ID cards, speak with our ID experts at 1-800-667-1772. Calls are toll-free. You can also reach us using the contact form on this page.

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