ID cards are pretty versatile, able to be used for a variety of different things.
An ID card can...
- open a door.
- pay for your lunch.
- record your attendance at work.
- log you into your work computer.
Yes, the tasks an ID card can accomplish (especially a smart card or a proximity card) go far beyond what you'd expect from a small rectangle of plastic or synthetic paper.
However, that doesn't mean an ID card can do it all.
Admit it: you've used your ID card, especially your employee badge, for non-ID purposes. We know your card didn't get that crack or those frayed edges from being worn on a badge reel all of the time.
We've all been there: we need a quick tool to perform a simple task. And when you're at work, your employee badge is right there at all times. It's tempting to reach for it...
But you have to resist! Using your ID badge for the tasks below may seem like a quick, easy solution, but it'll ultimately shorten the lifespan of your credential and cost your employer money down the line.
Put your hands up and step away from the ID badge...
There's no guarantee that performing any of the following tasks with your ID badge is going to cause irreparable damage, but each will put an unnecessary amount of strain on your card.
Unless you want to end up badge-less or forced to pony up the money for a new card, keep your card attached when you encounter the following situations.
1. Scraping frost or ice off of your card windshield.
Readers from warmer climates are reading this one and chuckling softly to themselves, but for those of us who experience cold winters, it's a fact of life: you walk outside to go to work in the morning, already running late, only to find your windshield coated in a thick layer of frost.
It's the first frost of the season, and you have no idea where your trusty scraper is. You try to wipe off the frost with your coat sleeve, to no avail.
WAIT! You have your ID badge. It's hard, with a straight edge. Surely it can handle a little frost...
Nope! While you may power through a layer or two of frost over the course of the winter, exposing your credential to the cold and moisture that come along with frost is a great way to ensure it won't make it through many winters.
ID cards, especially PVC cards, simply weren't made to handle cold, wet environments.
Using a PVC card to scrape your windshield is a great way to shatter the card, as the PVC becomes more rigid in the cold. One wrong scrape and it's "adios, ID card."
Even synthetic paper cards aren't great for scraping windshields, as the frost and ice can chip away at the laminate layer on top of the imagery.
Your best bet? Invest in a real scraper. Pay a few bucks and leave it in your trunk, then keep your ID badge nice and warm in your pocket.
2. Using the card as a straight edge to draw/measure a line.
Much like the scenario above, this one involves you looking for something hard with a straight edge.
Whether you're trying to get a straight line before cutting a piece of wood or trying to trace a square for some kind of drawing, it can be tempting to use your ID badge as a guide.
Don't do it!
If your ID badges aren't laminated, you'll be placing your card directly on the print when you press it down to draw the line. This increases the risk of scraping your imagery and causing damage to your card that can't be repaired.
Even if your card is laminated, you run the risk of getting the ink or carbon from your writing instrument on the sides of the card.
If you then accidentally drag the credential across your line, you end up with a dirty, smudged credential. While it may seem like a quick, easy solution, you're far better off searching for a ruler to draw your lines.
3. Preventing a door from locking.
Maybe the back door to your office can't be unlocked from the outside, and you want to keep it open while you run to your car. Or maybe your cards aren't used for access control, and you're trying to keep the door from locking because you forgot your keys.
Most of us have had the experience of using a card to prevent a door from locking, usually by placing the card between the latch and the door strike to prevent it from fully closing.
It works, sure: your card is thin enough to allow the door to close, but thick and strong enough to keep the latch out of the strike.
However, putting a card in there leaves the card susceptible to bending, cracking and image damage from the weight of the door and the abrasion between the card and the latch/door strike.
Even if it works a few times, at some point you're going to come back to find your door left open but your ID card damaged.
Instead, try using something else that's easier to replace, like a pen, magazine or envelope.
4. Using your badge as a coaster.
Your poor badge! Used as a protective lining for your desk or table, forced to hold a wet cup, bottle or mug...
You're using it because you want to protect the surface underneath, but what about protecting your credential itself?!
Getting a splash of water on your credential likely won't cause much damage, especially if it's laminated. However, the risk comes from using your card to hold a beverage for an extended period of time, especially if that beverage is very hot or very cold.
A hot drink could warp the card, while a cold one makes it more rigid and more susceptible to freezing and cracking.
Instead, opt for a napkin, paper towel or piece of cardboard, protecting your surface while keeping your ID badge above it all.
Interested in getting new ID cards for your organization? IDenticard offers ID credentials of all kinds, from smart cards that process payments to colored ID cards that help you stand out from the crowd. Browse our offering of ID credentials and let us know if you're interested in custom-printed cards.Browse Cards >>