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Frequently Asked Questions2022-10-27T12:22:55-04:00

InstantCard ID Cards F. A. Q.

Answers to the most common Frequently Asked Questions from our clients.

These are the answers to the main frequently asked questions concerning the InstantCard service. If you have any further questions, please contact us.

Do we email you the employee photos? And where do I enter employees’ names and info?2020-03-17T08:23:45-04:00

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 types of files can I upload?2019-08-02T13:55:22-04:00

Currently, we accept graphic files with the following extensions:

.pdf, .doc, .docx, .zip, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .psd, .cdr, .bmp

If you have something in a format other than that which is supported here, no problem. Simply contact us, and we’ll make sure that we get your template up and running ASAP.

Do I have to use professional design software?2021-01-20T06:49:19-05:00


You may use whatever software you are comfortable with. Just be aware, if you are uploading a complete design, make sure that it is 1050 pixels (minimum) on the longest side. If you are unsure how to do this, don’t worry—send us what you have and our professional designers can recreate it in high resolution. (If you are using a photo background, make sure you send us the full, high-resolution photo along with your design.)

Can I upload a sketch?2019-08-02T13:56:59-04:00

Yes! You may absolutely upload a sketch of your idea. Our professional designers will realize it into a complete design. They will work with you to make sure that the design matches your intentions. So, go ahead, scan the back of that envelope. We’ll make it into something you’ll be proud to wear.

What size are the ID cards?2021-02-10T08:57:36-05:00

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.

CR80 standard ID card size

How durable are the ID cards?2022-12-07T07:28:41-05:00


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.

Can you print on our HID Prox cards or on other RFID access control cards?2022-12-07T07:36:16-05:00


Absolutely, we do this for hundreds of clients. You just send us your blank white card stock, which we store securely, ready to use whenever you place an order. Or, if you prefer, we can procure the prox cards for you. If you’re not sure about which card technology to choose, among the dozens available, just call us, as this is our specialty!

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?2019-08-02T14:00:10-04:00

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?2021-01-20T06:51:00-05:00


Our service allows you to define the contents for encoding Track1, Track2, and Track3. There is no extra charge for this service.

Can I change my card design after processing the cards?2019-08-02T14:01:34-04:00


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?2021-01-20T06:47:19-05:00

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?2019-08-02T14:03:06-04:00


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?2019-08-02T14:03:37-04:00

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?2021-01-20T06:49:44-05:00

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.

Can I upload a spreadsheet instead of entering each person individually?2019-08-02T14:05:07-04:00


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?2019-08-02T14:05:56-04:00


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?2019-08-02T14:06:27-04:00

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?2022-12-07T07:31:46-05:00

Not Long.

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?2022-12-07T07:27:09-05:00


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, and the cost of an ID card is always the same, no matter if you order one or a hundred pieces. We do everything we can to respect your budget.

We will need a big batch of cards up front, with occasional cards in the future. How would that work?2019-08-02T14:08:31-04:00

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?2019-08-02T14:09:12-04:00


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.
Do the cards come with a slot punch for lanyards or clips?2021-01-20T06:49:01-05:00

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.

Can you make custom lanyards with our company name and logo?2019-08-02T14:10:34-04:00

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.

My employees don’t like lanyards around their necks. What options do you offer?2019-08-02T14:11:30-04:00

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.

What are employee ID cards made of?2020-11-20T13:29:25-05:00

Employee IDs are typically printed on standard PVC plastic card stock. This is the same card stock used for standard credit cards. IDs may also be printed on composite card stock, which is slightly more durable.

What are the dimensions for ID card graphics?2020-11-20T13:28:43-05:00

The minimum recommended resolution is 675px by 1050px (at 300dpi). This includes bleed for edge-to-edge printing.

Should you wish to create your own ID card template design, you should create an image that is at least 675 pixels on the short edge and 1050 pixels on the long edge for a standard CR80 (credit-card-sized) ID card. If the ID card contains a slot punch, allow for a 140 pixel margin from the top of the card.

Id card graphics dimensions

What size are ID cards?2020-11-20T13:28:05-05:00

The standard (CR80) ID card size is 3.375″ by 2.125″ (85.6mm by 54mm). The thickness of a standard ID card is 30mil. This is the same size as a standard credit card.

CR80 standard ID card size

There are other, less common, ID card size standards such as CR79 and CR100. The CR79 card is 2.051”× 3.303” (52mm × 83.9mm). The CR100 card is  2.63”× 3.88” (66.8mm × 98.6mm).

CR79, CR80, CR100 ID card comparative size

InstantCard prints all ID cards on CR80 card stock. Most badge holders and wallets are designed for the CR80 size standard.

How are ID Cards Printed?2020-11-20T12:53:32-05:00

There are three major options for printing ID cards: direct-to-card printing (DTR), thermal retransfer printing (TR), and offset printing (OP).

Direct-to-Card Printing

DTC is inexpensive and is the process often used for in-house and budget operations. Despite the price, there are several disadvantages to DTC printing. When printing directly to PVC the color rendering is not very sharp. Small imperfections in the plastic prevent a complete coating of the material, and the plastic itself is resistant to the dye. Additionally, DTC does not offer true edge-to-edge printing—there is always a thin white band at the edge of the card.

Thermal Retransfer Printing

The TR process has the card image first printed to a thin film which is then fixed to the card using a heat process. This has several advantages. The color quality is based on how film takes the dye. It is more durable (dye doesn’t scratch off the film easily). TR allows printing to the edge of the card. InstantCard uses this process due to its quality and flexibility.
Read more on TR printing.

Offset Printing

OP is of slightly higher quality than TR. However, OP may only be implemented where the PVC stock is being produced. Additionally, it does not allow you to print to either prox or RFID cards (or any sort of textured cards).

Can I take Photos for ID cards with a phone?2020-11-20T13:10:13-05:00

Yes. It is possible to take perfectly good employee ID badge photos with a phone camera. However, while the size and quality of today’s phoneimages is more than enough, phones often struggle in low light. To take a good ID photo with a small sensor, make sure to have plenty of light. You should also make sure the light is flat (diffused) to eliminate shadows.

Standard phone image sizes for ID card photos

Do you make essential employee ID cards?2021-01-04T09:01:40-05:00

If you are already a client, let us know if you need a special “essential employee” ID card template made.  We will create a COVID ID template free of charge that you can use in your client portal.

If signing up for the first time, you can email [email protected] and indicate that you are a critical infrastructure business, so that we can prioritize your account set-up. If only some employees are “essential,” let us know so we can make two different templates when setting up your account.

What is a COVID ID Card?2021-01-04T09:05:33-05:00

Certain essential employees need to work on-site during the pandemic, even during lock-downs. For this reason, it is important that such employees carry ID cards that indicate they are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, this is a standard employee ID with an additional notice that indicates that said employee is essential.

We will add such a notice to your current template for free, allowing you to easily order COVID ID cards for appropriate employees.

What is the COVID-19 ID Card Format?2021-01-04T09:11:07-05:00

ID cards for COVID-19 are typically the same as standard “CR80” ID cards (the same size as a credit card). The only difference is that they indicate that the employee is essential during the pandemic. The CR80 dimensions are 3.375″ by 2.125″

CR80 standard ID card size

What is an Essential Worker ID Card?2021-01-04T09:21:11-05:00

An essential worker ID card is an employee ID that indicates that the wearer is needed on-site, even during a pandemic. Often, in the case of medical staff and hospital workers, these employees are instrumental in fighting the pandemic. In these cases, it is important that they have an ID which clearly identifies them as essential, should they be stopped by law enforcement during a lock-down.

iHeart MEdia Coronavirus ID Card

Can you make me a COVID identification Card?2021-01-04T09:25:49-05:00

At InstantCard, we specialize in printing professional ID cards for companies. We can make special COVID essential employee cards for businesses of all sizes. However, we do not print COVID ID cards for individuals at this time.

If you are an individual who needs special permission during a lock-down, you should ask your employer to provide special identification.

Do you make ID Badges for media and press?2022-10-27T12:27:32-04:00

We provide professional, durable IDs for media, press, and events. Our press ID badges are made of durable PVC plastic and printed with scratch-resistant thermal retransfer printing for durablity & security.

Let us know if you need a temporary, new press ID card template to stress the fact that you’re a critical company. Contact us & we will work to get you another ID card template ASAP.

View our Media and Press page →

Do you provide support in setting up and using InstantCard?2021-01-20T06:40:50-05:00

Our free, unlimited support services include:

  • Custom template design services
  • Tutorials for editing card designs and entering in company data
  • Group training webinars to guide new users step by step through the process
  • Support via phone, email or online chat
  • Assistance in mapping data fields from Openpath to your custom template

Assistance setting up multiple field offices with local site managers

How do you integrate with my Openpath personnel database?2021-01-20T06:41:25-05:00

The InstantCard service provides seamless integration with data in your Openpath account.  Mapping is automatically established for standard data fields between Openpath and your custom card template.

Photos on file with Openpath are automatically imported to be printed on employee ID cards.  If a photo is not available in Openpath, it can be uploaded and adjusted separately.  All data can be imported to initialize the database, or it can be filtered based on multiple criteria.  On an ongoing basis, all changes made in the Openpath database will be synced automatically with the InstantCard database.

Can Openpath import custom fields e.g. Employee ID or Department ?2022-08-25T05:39:20-04:00

Yes. Users on the Openpath Basic plan can utilize the externalID as a single custom field that can be imported to InstantCard. Users on the Openpath Premium plan can create unlimited custom fields.

Can you print on our Openpath cards which we use for access control?2021-01-20T06:43:31-05:00

Absolutely. Our system ensures every client’s cards are produced using their unique RFID card stock, provided to us by Openpath.  We can thereby eliminate the need for employees to carry around multiple cards (visual ID, access control, time and attendance, etc.) Our printing process does not damage the Prox cards’ chip or antenna.

Security is very important to my company. How can you enhance the security of our ID cards?2021-01-20T06:47:55-05:00

We offer several options that can greatly increase our ID cards’ security and reduce the risk of fraud or falsification, including:

  • Printing your cards on smart card (chip) cards, which can be encoded for enhanced security
  • Adding a holographic overlay covering the full surface of the cards
  • Micro-printing, which only high-quality, high-definition printers can achieve
  • Printing a ghosted and resized picture on the front or back of the card
  • Overlaying or underlaying complex graphics over variable data (photo, name, etc.)
We have a number of sites across the country. Can local office managers order cards directly?2021-07-13T13:59:48-04:00

Yes, this is one of the great benefits of the InstantCard system.  HQ will have visibility over the card fulfillment process, but local hiring managers will directly order employee ID badges using an easy-to-use web portal.  Each local manager will only see his/her own staff data.

Will I see an image of the ID cards before they are printed?2021-01-20T06:51:41-05:00

Yes, the system generates a full hi-resolution image of each card, exactly as it will be printed, for proofing before ordering.

Will I get an email confirming each card order?2021-01-20T06:52:33-05:00

You have the option to receive a confirmation email whenever an order is placed, with tracking information.  This option can be turned on/off at any time.

Can these ID cards be used for 2-factor authentication?2021-01-20T06:53:24-05:00

Yes, smart cards are often used as an additional factor to ensure authentication when a user signs on to a system.  Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) has become a common method for unequivocally verifying a user’s identity.  Using ID cards for this purpose can enhance security substantially.

Do you offer discounts to Non-Profit Organizations?2021-01-20T06:54:26-05:00

Yes, we automatically reduce the card cost to the next lower bracket for any qualified non-profit organization.

What is an employee ID badge?2021-12-14T06:34:30-05:00

An employee ID badge is used by companies to efficiently track the identities of employees that work throughout their organization. Employee ID badges generally utilize basic features such as an employee photo, name, and ID number. Advanced features include smart chip cards and holographic printing.


Why are ID badges important to your business?2022-09-26T06:29:05-04:00

There are many reasons to use ID badges in your business, whether it’s large or small:  

  • Improved Security
    The first, and perhaps most obvious reason to use ID badges is to safeguard the security within your business. This is because ID cards come with barcodes or chips that can be scanned to check the level of access the wearer has been granted. What this means is it makes protecting high-security areas, or data from being breached much easier, and more efficient. In turn, making your business more secure and minimizing the level of risk you need to account for.
  • Customer confidence
    Another important reason to use ID badges in your company is that they can help to boost the credibility and authority of your employees when they are interacting with your customers. Indeed, when a customer sees someone with an official ID badge, they know immediately, that they can be trusted, and that they are the right person to be talking to about their issue.
  • Accountability
    Many businesses also find ID cards useful because they help them hold their employees accountable for their actions. This is because by using systems where ID cards have to be scanned or swiped a business can easily track the movements of their staff, ensuring that they clock in and out on time, and are in the locations for which they have clearance. This can make identifying any problems much faster, and easier, as well as provide your business with advanced warning of small issues that could become bigger problems if left unchecked.
  • Showing that each employee is part of the team
    ID cards also serve the important purpose of demonstrating that the wearer is an accepted member of the team. In a similar way to how a sports kit demonstrates membership and can contribute to identity and teamwork, so can providing an ID badge with a logo.
  • Professionalism
    Next, investing in ID badges is well worthwhile because of the impact of professionalism that they encourage. Indeed, when individuals wear ID badges with the logo of the company that they work for on them it can help them to remember that they are in the workplace and to act accordingly.
  • Branding opportunities
    Last, of all, ID badges can be another arm of your branding strategy, as they will be visible to members of the public when worn outside of the office. In turn, this means they can ignite curiosity in those that see them, and even be a catalyst for a conversation about your business bringing it to the attention of someone new.
What information should be featured on your work ID badges?2022-09-26T06:32:10-04:00

A good ID badge will always have: 

  • Logo and branding of your business
    Your ID badges should be instantly recognizable as part of your brand, even from a distance.
  • ID Photo
    photo ID badges are much more secure than ones that do not have a photo. Make sure that the image is high resolution so it can be checked against the identity of the wearer easily. 
  • Encoded data
    as previously mentioned ID badges are more secure when they have either a barcode or encoded chip that contains specific information about the cardholder.  QR codes are a simple way to verify information using any device.
  • Additional security
    To preserve the integrity of the card and prevent unauthorized copies, they can have additional security features such as holographic overlays 
Where can I get an ID badge made?2022-09-26T06:33:18-04:00

The first option is to make your own ID badges in-house. Unfortunately, this option is not as easy and convenient as it first seems. This is because making your own in-house ID badges can be a great deal of hassle, incur high costs, require lots of specialist equipment including special ink, and end up taking staff away from other valuable tasks. 

Additionally, when you make your own ID badges in-house, they are not crafted by experts in the field, and can also be less secure. After all, if some of your staff have direct access to manufacturing badges there is always the risk that one could be made that allows unauthorized entry. 

Fortunately, the good news is that by outsourcing your ID badge production to InstantCard you can ensure you have professional-looking badges, that are well designed, and reach your business quickly because they are shipped same-day. 

Can I order accessories like lanyards or clips with my cards?2022-12-07T07:34:38-05:00


We offer a wide range of standard accessories on our website, which you can also order with same-day shipping. Accessories are generally ordered in batches separate from the cards. We are also able to send out individual accessories with each badge, for a slight additional fee. And if our standard accessories don’t quite fit your needs, contact us.

What print technology is used to make the cards?2022-12-07T07:38:13-05:00

Thermal Retransfer Printing.

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 bright, vibrant colors are particularly notable when compared to cards made with small, cheaper printers which use “DTC” (Direct-To-Card) technology.

Learn more about thermal retransfer printing →