A very large number of InstantCard customers combine their photo ID cards with their door access system so that their employees only need to carry one single card.  They often replace a keyfob, or a clamshell-style hard plastic card, with a CR80 PVC plastic card which looks and feels like a credit card, opens doors, and also is a photo ID card for identification purposes.  This makes life easier for employees and makes card management simpler for the company.

However, new customers still ask all the time about sourcing the card stock on which these Prox/RFID badges are going to be printed.  Of course, it is critical that the technology and card encoding used will be compatible with the access control system in place. So making sure that the access control cards we use to print on is extremely important, and sometimes we encourage customers to order 1 or 2 test cards to verify that they function properly before proceeding.

Two Alternatives

Generally, clients have two choices: either (a) providing InstantCard with card stock which they procure, or (b) asking InstantCard to procure the card stock for them.  In both cases, once the card stock is in hand, we always print the cards same-day for same-day shipping.

Customer-Supplied Card Stock

InstantCard prints photo ID cards on-demand on any credit-card style cards, as long as the card stock is new and unused.  We cannot print on clamshell-type cards (which are harder and thicker than a credit card), although an adhesive card  option is available for those clients who must absolutely use this type of badge.  The most common situation is for a client to procure badge stock from the security installer who is responsible for installing and maintaining the access control system.  The security installer will provide compatible cards that can be sent directly to InstantCard for printing when the orders come through.  If you do procure badge stock from your installer, make sure they are “imageable”, which is the term used in the ID card industry for cards which can be printed on.

Some clients source their badge stock from online suppliers, including Amazon or other ecommerce vendors.  They can have these badges shipped directly to InstantCard for future orders.  However, in this case it is essential that the client ensure that the badge technology ordered will function correctly with the door readers which are installed for access control.  There are quite a lot of different kinds of technologies out there, each of which may not be compatible with your own system.  Since this involves security and who is allowed into your building, it is very important to get this right.  In addition, be aware that some technologies require the card to be encoded, when they are manufactured, with specific site/location codes and/or serial numbers.

By the way, if you do ship card stock to InstantCard, please be sure that it is clearly labelled with your company name.  We have had deliveries of card stock for whom it is impossible for us to determine which account to assign them to!

InstantCard Supplied Card Stock

Another alternative is simply asking InstantCard to procure the badge stock for your company.  We do this for hundreds of companies, and we are very familiar with all the different technologies on the market.  For us to supply the correct operating badges to you, though, you will have to provide us with the technical specifications of the access control system which has been installed.  These can normally be obtained from the documentation of the system, or from the system installer.  Alternatively, you can send us a photo of the label on the box of cards or fobs which was provided to you when the system was first installed.

Given the large volume of ID cards that InstantCard handles (1000’s each day!), we are generally able to source your cards at a significantly reduced cost compared to your normal sources.  Please don’t hesitate to request a quote.  However, we generally can not provide batches of under 100 cards, so if your requirement is for a smaller quantity, you may be better served to source your cards elsewhere.


We hope that this article provides you with the information you need to decide how best to source your ID card stock.  As always, for any special requirements, we’re always available to answer any questions you may have.