It's a fact of life when it comes to objects or material possessions: sooner or later, things are going to get worn out.
Identification cards are no exception to this rule.
Think about how much wear-and-tear the average employee ID badge or student ID card is going to endure on a regular basis: ID cards are taken in and out of pockets, tapped against card readers, swiped through machines and more.
All of this activity leads to a pretty logical conclusion: you're going to have to replace your identification cards at some point.
Much like your other possessions, however, the goal is to make your ID card last as long as possible. Cars last longer with regular oil changes, computers last longer with regular virus scans and file clean-up.
Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can help your ID cards and badges last longer — and they don't require having a good mechanic on standby.
You don't have to resign yourself to frequent replacement cards
There can be any number of reasons why you'd want to avoid having to frequently re-issue ID badges.
You have no room in the budget for new cards.
It can be a logistical hassle to track everyone down and print specific cards.
It's a time-consuming process, both for the card issuer and the person waiting for a new card.
It's clearly in the best interest of both your budget and your productivity to get as much life as possible out of your employee badges, student ID cards or membership cards.
Here are three ways you can make your ID cards last a little longer — some before you buy them, and another that can be done after the purchase.
1. Issue your cards with some kind of badge holder
Issuing plain, unprotected ID cards is asking for trouble. Unprotected cards are susceptible to water damage, cold, scratches, scuffs, fading and more — all of which will drastically decrease the life of your card.
Even people who put their cards in their pockets or purses are asking for trouble.
Cards that are stuck in a wallet and aren't laminated could stick to the wallet material and lose their print, while cards thrown in a purse could get scratched by keys, coins and more.
Your best bet is to issue all of your ID cards with some kind of badge holder.
Badge holders come in dozens of shapes, sizes, colors and materials. They can be flexible or rigid, vertical or horizontal and are available with a number of special features, like slide ejectors or shields for identity theft protection.
Regardless of the style, the basic goal behind all badge holders is simple: the holder serves as a barrier between your card and the outside world.
Badge holders protect against water damage, scratches and scuffs, bends, cracks and more, helping to drastically increase the life of your credential.
2. Laminate your ID cards
We covered it in the past, but if durability is a focus for you, it's really a no-brainer: you need to laminate your ID cards.
Adding a layer of laminate is similar to using a badge holder. That laminate layer is a barrier of protection for the printed portion of the card underneath.
Lamination is usually just a few mils thick so there's no added bulk, and it gives a professional glean to the surface of your cards. Laminating your ID cards helps protect against fading, cracking, scratches and more, all for just pennies per card.
If you're not interested in issuing badge holders with your credentials, laminating the cards and then issuing them is a good fallback plan.
Even though the laminate layer is thin, it's definitely better than sending cards out into the world without any kind of protection whatsoever.
3. Consider using synthetic paper JetPak™ cards instead of PVC
If you haven't ordered ID cards yet or you're considering a complete overhaul of your badging program and durability is a prime concern, consider using JetPak cards instead of standard PVC cards.
Our JetPak cards are made of a microporous synthetic paper that can be customized with a standard inkjet printer.
JetPak cards are a two-part solution: the synthetic paper insert and a JetPak pouch that is bound to the material with a laminating machine.
The result is a fully finished credential that looks similar to a PVC card but is a lot more durable.
In fact, laboratory tests showed JetPak cards to be less susceptible to fading and more resistant to bending and cracking than standard PVC cards.
JetPak cards combine the look and feel of PVC, the photo-quality imagery of an inkjet printer and unrivaled durability for a great, long-lasting ID card solution.
Whether you're starting an ID program from scratch or looking to upgrade an existing program, we have everything you need. From blank cards and photo ID software to ID card printers and badge holders to carry your cards, we've got you covered.