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Smart Card ID Printers

Smart Card & Prox ID Card Printers

ID Wholesaler carries a full range of ID card printers for printing smart cards and proximity cards. Select from models by the industry’s leading brands – Magicard, Evolis, HID Fargo, IDP, and Zebra – with a variety of features and printing capabilities such as single- or dual-sided printing, high definition retransfer printing, rewrite printing, lamination, and Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity.

While we carry both direct-to-card and retransfer smart card printers, we highly recommend using a retransfer printer when printing onto uneven card surfaces such as cards with embedded technology. Also, for protecting and extending the life of your ID cards, we suggest that you choose a card printer with built-in lamination.

Be aware that you need FULLY-FEATURED ID CARD SOFTWARE to encode smart cards and prox cards with data.

Trade-In Your Old Printer for a New One & Receive Up To a $600 Credit! 

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4 Items

  1. 670100 image
    IDP Wise-CXD80S Single-Side ID Card Printer 670100
    Item#: 670100
    MSRP $4,390.00
    You Save: $807.01
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  2. IPFS image
    IDP IPFS Smart-70 ID Card Printer Dual-Sided - Configurable
    Item#: IPFS
    MSRP $4,690.00
    You Save: $623.25
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  3. 670101 image
    IDP Wise-CXD80D ID Card Printer - Dual-Sided
    Item#: 670101
    MSRP $5,290.00
    You Save: $703.01
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  4. IPS image
    IDP IPS Smart-70 ID Card Printer Single-Sided - Configurable
    Item#: IPS
    MSRP $3,770.00
    You Save: $500.97
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Have Questions about Smart Card Prox ID Card Printers? We Have Answers!

I Need to Store or Access Data on my Cards. What are my Card Encoding Options?

Barcode Code Printing

Barcode code printing

There are three primary ways to access or store data on a card: a barcode, magnetic stripe, or smart card. Barcodes are the least expensive way to "store and access" data on a card and require the least amount of equipment, yet they are also the least secure. A barcode allows you to easily access data on a card and does not require an encoding ID card printer or software with encoding capabilities. This is because the data is not stored within the barcode, but rather electronically in a computer. You simply need to make sure that your printer ribbon has a black resin panel to create crisp, easy-to-scan barcodes.

Requirements: All card printers are capable of adding a 1-D or 2-D barcode to a plastic card. You will simply need a barcode scanner connected to a computer that contains the barcode's data to read the barcode.

Magnetic Stripe Encoding

Magnetic stripe encoding

While a barcode's information is kept in a computer, a magnetic stripe's information is stored within the magnetic stripe of the card. For example, when used for access control, each card holds data that will unlock preprogrammed doors. Simply swipe the card and, if you are a validated user of that door, it will unlock.

There are two types of magnetic stripe cards:

High Coercivity (HiCo) magnetic stripe cards are harder to erase, and are used in applications where cards are frequently used or need to have a long life. High co stripes are resistant to damage from most magnets or magnetic fields and therefore are most often used for access control, time and attendance, and gift cards.

Low Coercivity (LoCo) magnetic stripe cards require a lower amount of energy to record and are easier to erase. Low co stripes can be damaged by even a brief contact with a magnetic field. With this, LoCo cards are typically used for applications where the card is only used for a short time, such as hotel room keys.

Requirements: In order to use magnetic stripe cards, you will need an ID card printer that is capable of magnetic stripe encoding and mid-level or fully-featured ID software.

Smart Card and Proximity Card Encoding

Smart Card and Proximity Card Encoding

Similar to a magnetic stripe card, data is stored within the smart card components. A smart card offers added functionality and can hold up to 100 times more data than a magnetic stripe. It can be reconfigured to add, erase, or edit hosted data. Smart cards can be categorized into two categories:

A contact smart card has an integrated chip. As the name implies, a contact smart card must come into direct contact with the reader in order to be read.

A contactless smart card has a chip and an antenna. In order to be read, it needs to come within a specified distance to the reader (varies by reader), but doesn't need to make direct contact.

Note: Proximity cards are similar to contactless smart cards, but there are important differences. Proximity cards come pre-programmed, so do not need to be encoded. Some printers can read/verify data that has been written to a proximity card, but data on most* proximity cards cannot be added, erased, or edited.

Requirements: In order to use a contact or contactless smart card, you'll need a smart card encoding printer and fully-featured ID software. When ordering the printer, you'll need to specify whether you require contact or contactless encoding.

*Some cards, such as iClass cards, include non-editable, pre-programmed proximity data and a smart chip for encoding your own data.

What are Retransfer Printers?

Many experienced card printer users are familiar with the white border that direct-to-card printers leave around the edge of cards. Retransfer printers, on the other hand, produce "over-the-edge" prints that cover the entire surface of your cards.

Direct-to-card printers print directly to the surface of cards. Any uneven surface of a card--including coming in contact with the edge of a card--can cause expensive printhead damage.

Retransfer printers, on the other hand, print your card image to a clear film (retransfer film) that is then fused onto the surface of the card. With this process, the printhead does not come in direct contact with your card, allowing you to 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.

Choose a retransfer card printer if your card design needs to print "over-the-edge" or if you will be printing on technology cards (smart cards, prox cards, etc.).

Why Would I Need to Laminate my Plastic Cards?

If you recall the old days of cutting and pasting an ID card together, lamination may confuse you a bit. You might wonder why you would need lamination when printing directly to plastic. In plastic card printing, lamination is a clear protective layer that is applied over the top of your printed cards by a printer with lamination capability. It offers three primary benefits to a plastic ID card:

  • Lamination extends the life of your card by protecting it from wear, such as being swiped in a magnetic stripe reader.
  • Lamination protects your cards from fading and dye migration when exposed to the sun.
  • Holographic lamination increases the security of your cards by making them difficult to copy.

Choose a laminating card printer if your cards will be swiped in a mag stripe reader or will be worn in harsher environments, such as in the sun. Lamination will protect your cards from fading and extend their life so you'll need to reprint cards less frequently, saving you time and supplies costs!