ID Cards

The Difference Between Direct-to-Card vs. Retransfer ID Card Printers

As you are shopping for an ID card printer, it’s important to understand the differences between the two types of card printing technologies: direct-to-card and retransfer.  

Direct-to-Card ID Card Printers

Direct-to-card technology is currently the most common form of card printing. Direct-to-card printers are available in a wide price range, with varying features and capabilities.

With direct-to-card printers, you print directly onto the surface of cards. With this, any uneven surface of a card or burrs can cause expensive printhead damage.  When you replace an ID card printer printhead, you’re looking at a bill of about $400 – $1,000.

Is it right for me?

Direct-to-card printers are an economical choice for those where print quality is not a priority as the printer leaves an unprinted, white edge on cards.

Direct-to-card vs. Retransfer

Browse Direct-to-Card Printers

Retransfer ID Card Printers 

Unlike direct-to-card printers, a retransfer printer printhead does not come into direct contact with the card. Instead the card images are printed to a clear film (retransfer film) that is then fused onto the surface of the card.

With this process, you can print over the edge of your cards and to a wider variety of card surfaces including proximity cards, smart cards, pre-punched cards and key tag cards. Another benefit: retransfer printers produce imagery with rich, vibrant, saturated colors.

Is it right for me?

Retransfer is an ideal choice for those requiring high quality, vibrant images and those with a need for advanced technology. It’s ideal for high security and large applications, especially when smart cards are used.

Learn more about the benefits retransfer printing in this video!

Video: Top Five Benefits of Retransfer Printers

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