InstantCard ID Cards F. A. Q.
Answers to the most common Frequently Asked Questions from our clients.
Do we email you the employee photos? And where do I enter employees’ names and info?
The InstantCard removes email, and therefore manual operations, completely! You will upload employee photos along with employee data directly to the website. Once you have approved your first template design, you will be given login credentials to the InstantCard service. There, you may either enter each employee’s information one-at-a-time or all-at-once via a bulk upload using a spreadsheet.
What size are the ID cards?
InstantCard ID badges are standard credit card sized, or 2.125 x 3.370 inches. They fit perfectly into one’s wallet, or in all the standard accessories for displaying badges. They can be produced in both vertical (portrait) and horizontal (landscape) format. For detailed formatting information, see artwork graphics guidelines.
How durable are the ID cards?
The cards are made of PVC plastic, which – as most people trying to destroy old credit cards have noticed – is very hard to damage. These cards are much less susceptible to tears or rips that are common occurrences with laminated or standard paper ID cards. They are entirely waterproof so there is no need to worry about rain or coffee damage. They will last a very long time, much longer than laminated cards in a plastic pouch.
The print technology we use, thermal re transfer, applies the color to the underside of a clear sheet of plastic, which is heat-sealed to the bottom of the card. AS a result, cards last much longer than the more common, cheaper “dye sublimation” printing technology.
For clients requiring extended wear, we offer two options: (a) composite cards which withstand more wear-and-tear and temperature ranges, and (b) overlaminates with a holographic inlay to enhance security and durability.
What print technology is used to make the cards?
There are several types of printing processes available for the printing of photo ID cards. The process used at InstantCard is the highest quality available on the market today, called thermal re-transfer. The high-definition (300 dpi) printing is transferred to a clear plastic film, which is then permanently bonded, using a high-temperature heat-sealing process, to the surface of the card. While more expensive, this method ensures the highest level of print quality. The difference is particularly notable when compared to cards made with small, cheaper printers which use “DTC” (Direct-To-Card) technology.
Can you print on our HID Prox cards or on other RFID access control cards?
Yes, we can. We can generally provide compatible Prox cards for existing security systems. The InstantCard system can also print onto your existing corporate Prox cards. Doing so eliminates the need for employees to carry around multiple cards (visual ID, access control, time & attendance, etc.). Our printing process does not damage the chip or antenna inside of the prox cards.
Security is very important for my company. How can you enhance the security of our ID cards?
We offer a number of options that can greatly increase the security of our ID cards. Some of the options which significantly reduce the risk of fraud or falsification include:
- Print your cards on smart card (chip) cards which can be encoded for enhanced security
- Add a holographic overlay covering the full surface of the cards
- Use micro-printing, which only high-quality high-definition printers can achieve
- Print a ghosted and re-sized picture on the front or back of the card
- Overlay or underlay complex graphics over variable data (photo, name, etc.)
We would be pleased to work with you to define the best security solution to meet your organization’s unique requirements.
Can you encode the magnetic stripe on our cards when the badge is printed?
Yes. Our service allows you to define the contents for encoding Track1, Track2, and Track3. There is no extra charge for this service.
Can I upload a spreadsheet instead of entering each person individually?
Yes absolutely. For those customers who have a large number of staff members, we provide an easy way for you to upload your cardholder database and photos as a batch, using an Excel spreadsheet. You can upload just the data, then add photos later. Or you can include in one column of your spreadsheet the file name of the photo associated with each record, to automate photo matching. Just ask us for sample spreadhseet layouts and to discuss your specific needs.
Can I send you a batch of photos for processing?
Yes. We will provide you with a personalized ftp destination on our site, where you can send all your photos. They will be linked by name to the data submitted in a spreadsheet. We also offer our unique photo-processing service which can process large batches of photos to make them all consistent: same face-fill factor (using facial recognition); same x-y dimensions; same definition & resolution. This is particularly useful when you have a large numbers of pictures coming from a variety of different sources.
How hard is it to use the service?
From the beginning, we have worked hard to make the system as simple and intuitive as possible. Most of our clients don’t want a complicated set of options. They find that it is so easy to start using the service, that no instruction manual or “hand-holding” is necessary. By just following the steps on the screen, you’ll be producing your cards in minutes. The only potentially complicated part of making ID cards is making the card design – and we take care of that for you! Our professional card designers, who have been doing this for years, will create a badge template for you, at no cost. Once you approve it, all you have to do is enter your employee data. We do offer free, unlimited telephone support to any user who needs further assistance.
How long will it take for me to get my ID cards?
Our service guarantees our customers with the fastest turnaround time in the industry. As long as you submit your card orders by 4 p.m. EST, we will print and ship out your ID cards on the very same day. This is true even if you require just one single card! Each time you order, you specify how we ship the cards to you. FedEx or UPS get your cards to you overnight, while USPS will take standard postage time (generally 1-3 business days for the East Coast, and 3-5 days for the West Coast).
Is there a minimum number of cards per batch to avoid extra charges?
Absolutely not. Sometimes someone loses an ID card, and often there’s just one single new employee. We designed our service to meet exactly that requirement. Clients can print individual cards if necessary at the same cost as cards within larger batches. There is never a “small-batch” fee.
We will need a big batch of cards up front, with occasional cards in the future. How would that work?
This is exactly why an outsourced service provides the most flexible solution for most organizations. Most companies require just a few cards week-to-week after the one or two large batches produced at the beginning. We have many clients who use our service because of the convenience we provide in this aspect of the business. Whether you require a small or a large batch, there is no change to our very simple process.
Do you provide support in setting up and using the service?
Yes, we provide unlimited, free support, in various different ways:
- We provide custom template design services to every new client – for free!
- On our website you will be able to find tutorials for editing card designs as well as entering in company data. These videos go into play-by-play details as to the process of working different aspects of the program while at the same time being concise enough to avoid information overload.
- We offer webinars for group training, so we can guide new users set-by-step through the process
- We have an online screen-sharing tool, Glance, which allows us to see your screen (once you provide authorization) to help you overcome any specific issue you may encounter
- Clients are always welcome to contact us directly by phone, email, or online chat if they ever feel the need as well. We pride ourselves on our level of personal support for any questions or you may have or any special service requirements.
Can I change my card design after processing the cards?
Of course. You may make as many changes to card templates as you like, now or in the future. In fact, you can make an unlimited number of card templates, at no extra charge. Many clients use multiple designs, such as for staff and students, or for temporary and permanent employees. If you update the templates, for example with a new expiration date, you will not need to change your personnel data.
Can our card design include barcodes or QR codes?
Our service can support 30 different barcode symbologies, including of course the most common ones like Code39 and Code128. Cards can have multiple barcodes on them, on either the front or the back or both.
We fully support QR codes, which can create a linkage between the physical card and the virtual cloud-based information. Or they can be used to allow scanning of contact information.
Do I email you the employee photos?
No. Our online service eliminates email entirely, since this manual process is the source of most errors when dealing with an outside supplier. Our service allows you to just point to the photos for your IDs cards, then automatically embeds them onto your cards. Within your browser window, you will be able to easily adjust which part of the picture you want to show up on the ID (cropping). There is no need to worry about pictures mismatched with employee names, poor pictures, or improper sizing. You’ll see an exact image of card as it will be printed, so you can verify spelling and presentation, before you choose to print the ID card.
If you have a large number of employee pictures, we provide a custom service which automatically re-sizes and crops all your pictures to the appropriate format for your ID cards.
I’m not very design-oriented. Can someone create a template for me?
Absolutely. In fact, most people prefer to have us design their ID cards. We have expert graphic specialists at InstantCard who would be more than happy to design a custom template for you using your company logo, color scheme, and any other design specifications that you may have. This is a no charge service. And if you decide at a later date to make changes to the design, we typically help you do that in a matter of minutes.
Does the service use pre-set card design templates?
At InstantCard we pride ourselves in making custom designs for each of our clients. We prefer to make a custom design for you to best meet your exact needs. This is a free service. If you would like to get some inspiration as to what others in similar fields have done, to give our designer your preferences, please leaf through the card gallery on our site. Your design will be unique, based on your logo, your color scheme, and your layout preferences.
You may also upload any inspirational examples for our designers via the template design form.
Do the cards come with a slot punch for lanyards or clips?
Yes, that is an available option. Our extremely flexible service allows you to have cards done just about any way you want them, including having slots punched into the top.
Another option is to use badge holders for ID cards. These significantly prolong the life of the badges and protect the cards from other environmental hazards. They also allow for more surface area for printing and graphics. A selection of standard badge holders are available for order on our accessories page, along with lanyards, clips, etc.
My employees don’t like lanyards around their necks. What options do you offer?
Lanyards are not recommended for people who work with machinery or in physically demanding environments.
Many people prefer pocket or belt clips, and we also offer a popular magnetic clip which will not damage clothing. Other options include arm bands and retractable zip reels, especially for employees who move around a lot.
All of these options are available for order from our website. Orders are shipped out same-day, and the cost is simply deducted from your account balance.
Can you make custom lanyards with our company name and logo?
In addition to our standard lanyard offering, we can provide custom lanyards with logos, custom printing, and a wide range of colors. We are able to provide just about any kind of custom-made lanyard that you could think of, with various clips, break-aways, and other options.