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What Kind of Blank Cards are Available for Plastic Card Printers?

When buying blank cards for your plastic card printer, it is important to choose the right type as it can either spell savings or extra costs.

All plastic card printers accept standard CR8030 cards. These are the commonly used credit card-sized plastic cards. For the uninitiated, the “CR80” refers to the cards dimensions (3.370 x 2.125 inches), while the “30” refers to its mil thickness.

The most common material used for plastic cards is PVC, short for polyvinyl chloride. PVC is used in several other types productsincluding pipes, bottles, and medical equipment because it is cheap to manufacture. PVC cards are relatively durable but could melt when used in high-energy image transfer processes like retransfer printing and lamination.

Composite cards, which are made of 60% polyvinyl chloride and 40% polyethylene terephthalate, offer more flexibility and better heat resistance compared to regular PVC cards. This makes them ideal for use with retransfer printers.

If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution for printing personalized cards that are re-used often like hotel room cards, a good option is rewritable cards. One example is a hybrid card that features one side that is made of PVC, which can be printed on using standard direct-to-card printers,and another side that features an erasable thermal printing surface. Another example of rewritable cards are magnetic stripe cards. These are cards that feature magnetic stripes on one side that can store information.

Do note, however, that not all plastic card printers are able to print on rewritable PVC cards.  A special printer with data encoder is also needed for rewritable magnetic stripe cards.


For assistance in choosing the most cost-effective blank card for your plastic card printer, send us a message through our website or call our friendly ID professionals at 1-800-667-1772.

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