Category Archives: Plastic Cards

The stolen plastic card order – all ok

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metallic foiling on a smoked tinted clear card

I wrote a blog a few days ago regarding a plastic cards order which had been stolen while it was in the couriers delivery van.

This particular order had a deadline and the theft rendered the original design un-usable.

The customer submitted a new design, which meant that the card could still be used. This time however they incorporated a signature panel/write on strip to allow a table number to be written on the cards which would identify the user. We produced the new design with the signature panel/write on strip (we decided not to charge the customer additional money for the strips as after all the theft was not their fault, come to think of it, it wasn’t our fault either however we do try to ensure our customers are happy).

The replacements cards are due to be delivered today – please cross your fingers for us and the customer.

Postal proofs for plastic card orders

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matt black plastic business card for bathroom installation company

We can offer postal proofs with our full colour solid plastic cards orders (apart from the special offers). There are numerous reasons why we can offer them. Basically the cards when printed and finalized may come out differently than expected. Reasons include:

– Orders with magnetic strips can be tested to ensure they work ok before the full order is printed. Occasionally the proofing stage can highlight problems before the full order is printed.

– The above also applies for barcodes.

– Colours can come out differently then expected when the artwork is printed on to plastic cards.

– A printed proof may highlight any areas of the artwork which have been provided by the customer as proof quality/low resolution. The customer can then decide if they have the ability to provide the artwork in a better quality.
– Optional extras such as embossing can be applied to show the final result, sometimes embossing may cover key text which the customer has not realised previously.

The above are example but highlight the obvious reasons for producing postal proofs.

Most plastic cards companies, often those shipping the cards into the UK from the far East, do not offer postal proofs, I think this is basically because it would take far to long to ship a sample card with the customer artwork on to the UK. Please bear this in mind when ordering cards from a company who does not produce the cards in the UK. Imagine if your full order arrived and it looked terrible or the magnetic strips did not work, I doubt anything could be done.

However, it may not be obvious that some companies are not producing the cards in the UK, i.e. their sales office may be here in the UK, so you need to ask them if the cards are produced here in the UK or if they are shipped in from the far east etc.
Place your order with us and receive your postal proof before we print your full order. This is to ensure full review and testing of any optional extras can occur before you commit to your full order being printed.

Why plastic cards?

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Why buy plastic cards to be used as plastic business cards?

Business cards are often exchanged during meetings or trade shows. They are a means of easily passing on business information, such as the person’s role, the company they work for and any contact information.

Having spoken to the person in question, the receiver of the business card has an address, a phone number or an email address if they do decide to follow up on anything that may have come up during conversation.

plastic business cards

While you are a representative of your company, the business card effectively represents you. If you have a cheap, thin, cardboard business card that falls apart, this will he how you are remembered – if you’re remembered at all. However, if you have a professionally made, personalised plastic business card, you can maintain the good impression you’ve hopefully made in person.

You can get full colour plastic business cards in a gloss or matt finish. These cards will have rounded corners and are available in a variety of thicknesses, from credit card thickness down to a lighter, flexible thickness, which is slightly cheaper. You can also get cards with a satin black background or with a metallic look. Finally, there are frosted plastic business cards, which are semi-transparent.

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Plastic Cards – Advertise with them

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Foiled plastic cards

The outcome of US08 could so easily have been different if McCain had used the services of

Perhaps if his plastic cards had metallic gold or metallic silver foiling (hot foil stamped / foiled blocked) this would catch the eye more?

A series of personalized plastic cards sporting campaign slogans on one side and McCain is able on the other may well have helped to place a Republican in the White House.

The advertising power of plastic cards

This is often underestimated. Plastic cards are seen as special, possibly because they are similar to Bank or Credit cards, so where a paper or card stock is used a business card may be thrown away, whilst the plastic card will often be kept. Perhaps the known monetary value of Bank and Credit cards becomes associated with Plastic Cards in the publics’ psyche.

A campaign such as McCains could so easily have used Plastic Cards as a memory jogger to the US populace. Handed out to the queues of voters in every state some would no doubt have considered the message and by the time they reached the front of the queue voted for the guy associated with the little plastic card tucked in their wallet.

Stranger things have happened.

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plastic cards

Plastic Card Printing and their uses

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Plastic Cards

Over the last few weeks we have been receiving more requests for smaller quantities of plastic cards (around 100 or less).

This is because lots of smaller companies are looking to implement loyalty card schemes. This is to assist them in these difficult financial times to win customers.

plastic card printing

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Loyalty Cards

Some of the loyalty cards are very simple. They sometimes say nothing more than 10% discount when shown at time of purchase. It just goes to show that you don’t necessarily need a barcode or magnetic strip card type system for it to be successful.

plastic loyalty cards

Plastic Business Cards

We have found an increase in plastic business cards sales over the last few weeks. This is despite the current economic climate. A lot of the current card sales have been for loyalty cards. This is an attempt from our customers are hoping to gain more increased customer loyalty in these difficult financial times.

membership cards

Loyalty cards can reward loyal customers. At the moment customers will be less likely to spend what money they have unless special offers or discounts are available. Without a loyalty card incentive the customer, especially within the current economic climate will shop around more for a better deal.

On 1st January 2009 plastic cards will assist people in the Manchester Area with weight loss. Residents who goto keep-fit classes or weight loss clubs or go for a jog in the local park will be eligible to receive rewards. The rewards will be given as points added to a plastic loyalty card. Similar to a plastic video store card or a supermarket loyalty card. The points can then be redeemed against healthy food, sports equipment or sessions in a gym. If the scheme is successful in Manchester it will be extended across the UK. Even walking children to the bus stop or train station is awarded with points.

In this present climate of carbon awareness, it is all too easy to overlook the green credentials of the plastic card. It would be easy to consider that plastic as a product degrades slowly and should therefore be avoided, but no, that is not so with plastic cards.

The initial use for the card is to pass on information. A simple messenger fulfils it’s duty as hired, then what? A plastic card will carry it’s message through rain and snow without losing meaning. A plastic card is durable and long lasting. A plastic card impresses when the message is delivered.

Once the initial purpose of a plastic card is done, what next? The possibilities for using discarded plastic cards are endless. It is only limited by the imagination. As a simple applicator of wall filler, plastic cards are ideal, with their size, smooth edges and flexibility combining to produce an extremely useful tool.

black plastic business cards with metallic foiling

Consideration of further uses for plastic cards will appear later.

Feel free to contribute your own ideas for plastic cards and sticky back plastic tape.

With plastic cards, especially loyalty and membership cards becoming increasing popular, companies are ordering thinner (420 microns thick) plastic cards so their customer can more easily carry them in their wallets.

The thinner plastic cards are just as durable as the thicker 760 or 680 microns thick plastic cards. However they are around the same thickness as a good quality normal card based business card.
The only downside the the thinner cards is it is not possible to emboss or to add a magnetic strip to the 420 microns thick cards.

Unfortunately for our frosted translucent clear plastic cards which are foiled printed with metallic foils, we are unable to apply magnetic strips or emboss the cards.

frosted translucent clear plastic business cards

Dazzle prospective customers with matt black plastic business cards.

Metallic Gold foil can be printed on our matt black plastic cards them which shines and gives great contrast to the matt black background. No other printing process can match metallic foiled plastic cards.

In the present economic climate you need extra help to stand out from the crowd. When you attend that breakfast meeting and hand out your lavishly crafted plastic card who could fail to be impressed? You won’t just stand out from the crowd, you will tower head and shoulders above it.

The exceptionally high quality of your plastic card will reflect the quality of your own product or service, drawing customers towards you like ball bearings to a neodymium magnet.
Contact us today and let us help you to succeed where others are falling to make the right impression.

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Matt Black Plastic Card Printing

We can suggest combinations of plastic card and printed foil which best reflects your business and which will undoubtedly help you to be remembered.

Browse our website for an insight into how effective Gold foiled plastic cards appear.

matt black plastic business cards

various matt black plastic cards

Nice to make people happy with plastic cards

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Fast Turnaround for plastic cards

Hi All,

A customer emailed the other day about an order for plastic cards. Their email was received on a Wednesday.

Good afternoon,

I phoned earlier this afternoon to make enquiries on my plastic cards order status.
What cost would be incurred if I required the cards in advance of Friday if at all possible?

The reason I ask is that my first photography exhibition starts tonight. It would really make a difference if I was in receipt of the business cards as soon as possible.

I appreciate your help in this matter.

Best regards


We managed to dispatch the order on Thursday for delivery Friday (no additional costs to the customer). Unfortunately not in advance of Friday as the customer ideally wanted. However, as we were not provided with a deadline when the order was placed I would like to think that we dispatched as promptly as we could.

We have not received an email from the customer yet to say thank you however I am sure it will come in due course.

Bye for now

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plastic cards

Plastic cards for epos systems and pos systems

Plastic Cards for EPOS Systems

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If you are after looking for plastic cards, loyalty cards or membership cards to be used with your EPOS system, contact us.

We can even replicate the design on your existing card, see our Free Artwork Service for details.

We produce plastic cards with magnetic strips, embossing, barcodes, sequential numbering etc.

Our plastic cards will make you stand out, we have lots of designs on our website that can give you inspiration and you can use our free design service to create your design based on one of them. Using our free design services we will work in partnership with you to create a plastic card that not only you can be proud of but also benefits your business.

Choose from a range of features that support your business processes such as magnetic strips that can be connected to your office systems and pull up information on the card holder when swiped. Or to further enhance your professional image you can include the embossing of words or numbers on the card.

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Plastic cards with magnetic strips

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Plastic cards with magnetic strips

Plastic cards with magnetic strips / stripes

Below you will find lots of useful information on plastic cards with magnetic strips / stripes which include:

What are magnetic strips?

The advantages of magnetic strips

The disadvantages of magnetic strips

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Plastic cards with magnetic strips

So, here is the first topic – what are magnetic strips?

To start of I think it is important to mention that we offer one product with magnetic strips. This is the full colour solid plastic 760 micron card. Plastic cards with magnetic strips are often used for loyalty and membership schemes. Often they are also used as business cards to make them look similar to a credit card.

Magnetic strips are usually positioned on the reverse of a plastic cards at the top. There are a few pictures/photos on our website should you wish to view a visual of this.

Magnetic strips are placed on the plastic cards in the form of magnetic tape. There are two different types of magnetic strip tape which we use. They are called High Coercivity (HICO) or Low Coercivity (LOCO). The Coercivity defines how strong the magnetic field is and how immune the data on the magnetic strip is to being damaged. This is quite a technical area so I will not dwell on it any further. Most of our customers tend to use a LOCO magnetic strip but if in doubt please check with the company who provided your magnetic strip reader. As a very very rough guide HICO magnetic strips are often black in colour where LOCO ones are brown, please be wary though as this is not always the case. Some magnetic strip readers can read both HICO & LOCO magnetic strips but again if unsure please check with your provider.

The magnetic strip itself has three tracks or lines within it. These tracks are used to record data otherwise known as encoding data. The different tracks can hold different information, this again depends on customer requirements but as a general rule:

Track 1: Alpha numeric (letters & numbers) max characters: 78

Track 2: Numeric max characters: 37

Track 3: Numeric max characters: 103

We can encode on to just one track or multiple tracks if required. Again, If in doubt, as usual, please check with your provider.

We can produce plastic cards with magnetic strips which are encoded or not encoded. The choice is down to individual customers needs. For example some customers ask us to encode a sequential number and they link this number to new members when they join. Other customer have the ability to encode the magnetic strips themselves. Just let us know what you require.

As with any data recoding system you will need a reader (magnetic strip reader in this case) and software to compliment it.

There are vast amounts of information surrounding magnetic strips available on the internet. however I hope that the above provide a basic overview.

As a bit of guidance and summary to this blog, I have put together a few questions regarding magnetic strips. These may be useful to ask customers if you are looking to supply magnetic strip cards / loyalty cards / membership cards for the first time:

1) Do you require a HICO or LOCO magnetic strips?

2) Do you require the magnetic strips to be encoded?

3) If encoding is required, please clarify which track the encoding needs to be on and whether any prefixes are required for your machinery to read/see the magnetic strip.

Plastic cards with magnetic strips

plastic card with magnetic strip

Plastic cards with magnetic strips are a well established and well used method of member identification hence there is a lot of information and support available.

Due to the availability of products the cost of magnetic strip equipment is relatively cost effective.

The data encoded onto the magnetic strip can be rewritten or modified (subject to you having the required equipment to do this)

Plastic cards with magnetic strips are not easily damaged with water or dirt.

The magnetic strips we produce are part of the plastic card and hence do not come off or away from the cards.

There are probably many more advantages but I just wanted to point out some of the mains ones. Hopefully this will be useful if you are considering the implementation of magnetic strips for a loyalty card or membership card. We can obviously incorporate magnetic strips on to any type of card for example some customer like to make their business cards look like credit cards.

The magnetic strips must be in close proximity to the reader to allow it to be read.

If the magnetic strip is placed near to a magnetic field the encoded data can be damaged.

Some people may consider that as the magnetic strips does not have a human readable element that this may be a disadvantage. Please note however with our cards, if we are encoding them for you we can print information on the other side of the cards for you. For example if you want a membership number encoded we can then include a member name on the other side. This can be embossed so a professional image is achieved. Just pop the require information in an excel file and we will work directly form this).

At the moment this is all I can come up with any more disadvantages! I am sure there are some more, so as always if you have any let me know and I will update the list!

Plastic cards barcodes

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Plastic cards barcodes

Information can be found below on plastic cards with barcodes. It will show both the advantages and disadvantages of barcodes as these are often used in conjunction with plastic cards (membership cards, loyalty cards, key cards etc).

Examples of benefits of a plastic cards with barcodes include storing relevant customer information to help with future membership offers or subscriptions. Generally understanding your customers and the prompting of when a customer needs to re-new membership subscriptions. There are lots and lots of benefits to installing a recording system/software package to monitor members.

Unfortunately I am unable to comment further at the moment on software packages. This is because this is quite an in-depth area. There are hundreds of packages on the market. I would suggest having a good search around the interest and contact a few companies to find out what is best for your company.

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Barcode printing, plastic cards

A membership plastic card example which is numbered and has barcodes

We can offer barcodes on the following products:

Full colour solid plastic cards (760, 680 and 420 microns in thickness) measure 86mm x 54mm

Full colour solid plastic key cards measuring 24 x 54mm

Barcodes are often used for membership and loyalty schemes and help organization’s record important data regarding customers.

Now on to a little more technical information. Barcodes are made up of parallel lines. The barcode is made up of different numbers and/or letters (this is depicted by the customer but generally is a number, the number can be sequential or provided in an excel file from the customer). Please note that other variations of barcodes (such as barcodes hidden within illustrations) do exist. However for loyalty cards and membership cards we have found parallel lines to be the most effective and easy to use hence this is the option we offer.

Barcodes are scanned and read by optical scanners otherwise knows as barcode readers. The lines on the cards contain data which a machine can read. The barcode scanner can be handheld or it can be built into a counter like at a supermarket. A software package will usually be present which enables the scanned information/data to be sent to a computer. If for example the barcode is a number, this can be linked to a customer. Once scanned it will bring up the customers information when it is scanned or it could be a system where points are added each time it is used. The uses of barcodes are vast – too many to mention right now.

Barcodes can be placed on our plastic cards in any location and any size. Please bear in mind not to make the area for the barcode too small as your scanner may have trouble recognizing a very small barcode. Quite often we have found that a white box around the barcode area helps the scanner to identify it as a barcode. Obviously we produce postal proofs for any plastic cards ordered with a barcode, this enables you to test the barcode before we print your full order. We like to ensure our customers have peace of mind.

There are a number of different barcodes types/standards in use, examples include code39, code128A, EAN2, EAN5, CPC Binary, Telepen & MSI. Some of these barcode types are used for multiple products/organisations others are specific to certain industries or users. For example CPC Binary is used by the post office and Telepen is often used by Libraries. Here at Colour Plastic Cards we produce a number of barcode standards/types (list to follow).

I believe that most barcode scanners can read and scan a variety of standards/barcode types. However as already mentioned we do produce a postal proof (actual finished card) with barcode for testing before we print your full order. If in any doubt please check with the provider of your barcode scanner for the barcode standard you require. Also ask for any technical information such as optimal size etc.

membership cards magnetic strips and embossing

Barcodes on plastic cards

The barcode hardware is relatively cost effective and hence business friendly in the current economic climate.

There are numerous software packages available, you will be hard pressed not to find one which meets your needs.

Barcodes provide accurate identification of members as well as other information (mentioned in a previous blog in more details).

It takes very little time to scan a barcode hence saving time in the long run.

Possibly less chance of failure than other scanning/swiping methods as magnetic charges are not able to disable the actual barcode on the cards.

Our barcodes are positioned behind a plastic laminate e.g. within the plastic card, which means that will not come off/become scratched over time.

They are easy to identify on the plastic cards for the staff member to scan.

Barcodes are a relatively easy concept to understand and use.

Its quite easy to set up a barcode scanning system to help streamline a business or loyalty/membership scheme.

Barcode scanners can be portable enabling ease of use -you can take the scanner to the card rather then the other way around – very useful for membership schemes.

Hope these advantages help a little, if anyone has any other advantages please feel free to let us know and any relevant ones will be added to our list.

Disadvantages of barcodes

Here we go, a little list of some disadvantages for using barcodes:

Scratched barcodes can cause problems scanning (our barcodes are positioned under plastic so them becoming scratched off is not possible).

Although the cost and time of setting up a barcode system is relatively low, some money & time output is still required. One option would be to charge customer a little for a membership card or build the cost into the membership fee. It may also be an option to charge customer for replacement cards should they be lost. I would try to steer away for charging a small fortune for replacement card as this may annoy members and cause tension.

A little time and accuracy needs to be taken when inputting a new member into the system to enable accurate recording and reporting. What is that saying? ……rubbish in = rubbish out!

The software system will need to be maintained and managed to get the optimum results – not necessarily a disadvantage but be prepared to utilise your system as much as you can, you should be getting more out of it than you put in.

The Durability of the actual barcode scanners can be an issue – just make sure you research your options carefully and select a scanner which is fit for purpose.

A general point which applies to all computer systems (not just barcodes)…MAKE SURE YOU BACK UP YOUR DATA! Please don’t waste your time installing an all singing all dancing system and forget to back up. Imagine how you would feel should all your valuable data go up in smoke – not very amused!

Please remember that the above disadvantages should be out weighed by the advantages, provided the system is maintained properly and any investment should be repaid within a matter of months.

plastic cards with barcodes