ID Card Security Features

By: Daisy McCarty

Taking control of your badge creation process and reducing instances of identification card fraud has never been easier. Today's options for creating IDs that are resistant to tampering and forgery are varied both in price and complexity. Sometimes the simplest solutions are sufficient; at other times you may wish to invest in more sophisticated technology. Implementing upgrades in your current printing process can prevent unauthorized card issuance and make it easy to spot fakes.

The various categories of card printing security features are described below. Multiple types of protection can be incorporated into the same card to afford you additional peace of mind. To find out what options are available for your existing printer or to select a new printer with more of these capabilities, contact a professional identification specialist.

Printing Style

This category consists of printing highly complex designs that are difficult or impossible to duplicate using scanning or copying equipment. Fine lines and fancy designs are the name of the game with these features. Watermarking, cameo effects, tamper evident photo borders, or prismatic pattern options can be applied to each card once the selected design is programmed into the background template. Micro-text is one of the most popular features since it is not readily evident to amateur, would-be forgers. Look at the signature line on one of your bank checks under a magnifying glass to see a sample of what this technique looks like.

Layered Additions

You can easily add a clear topcoat to your cards to make them difficult to tamper with, but holographic laminates take security to the next level. These ultra-fine layers of transparent material display a unique optical pattern. Choose from standard designs or order custom film with your company logo. Smaller holo-seals or foil seals give you the ability to apply a patch of non-replicable material to your cards if you do not want an effect that covers the entire surface.

Physical Precautions

Protecting your printer and supplies is simple with hardware and hopper locks. Even a locking tray for rejected cards comes in handy. You don't want anyone digging through your trash for discarded supplies to make unauthorized card copies. To protect sensitive data, check to see if your model has an auto-erase function to black out the text portion of your used ribbons as well. A Kensington slot device allows you to secure your printer to a heavy desk or cabinet via a rubber coated metal cable making it difficult for a thief to remove and carry away.

Software Protection

Your card printing can be protected at the level of the printer display panel through a pin number or access card. Passwords should be required for access to the program at each local or remote PC. For networked printers, it is advisable to implement tracking software that allows you to review when and where each card was created and by whom.

Specialized Supplies

Oversized ID cards are easy to recognize and difficult to duplicate. There are few printers on the market with the capability to create these credentials, so the chances of someone having access to the right equipment to make a fake are slim. Expiring badges are ideal for visitors and contractors since they can be purchased in varieties that change color after a set period of time. In contrast to these highly visible solutions, UV ink gives you a way to covertly mark your ID cards as valid.

Unique Content

Biometric data on your ID cards can include more than just a recent photo. Fingerprints and digital signatures offer extra verification options and can be stored as images in your employee files.

Encoding Options

Most mid to high volume printers on the market today can be equipped with modules to encode magnetic stripes, RFID proximity devices, or smart cards. These technologies can also be combined within the same card in some cases. Having card readers set up at all points of entry into your facility and in restricted areas gives you complete control over movement throughout the building. Smart chips can also govern access to computers and data for sensitive applications.

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