PVC (Polyvinyl Card Chloride) cards are standard, plastic blank cards with either high coercively magnetic strip or proximity FRC. They are compatible with many applications and can store data. They are available in black and white (simple version) and other colors depending on the manufacturer. PVC cards have smooth textures that are un-erasable once printed. For digital printing; inkjet, laser or thermal sublimation can print on this cards. However, when mishandled they form scratches though not easily breakable. The cards can be customized depending on customer need, with images imprinted in them. Currently PVC cards are widely used for these purposes:
Identification, banking on Automated teller machines (ATM) cards, Identification; membership cards, security; personnel access among other uses discussed later in this article. Before bulk purchases, manufacturers recommend sampling and a test run on any software’s before ordering bulk purchases. Cards once purchased they cannot be returned.
Types of PVC cards
- Simple version- this is a standard card with no special features. It is in black and white with the basic features (plastic, magnetic strip or chip)
- Luxury version- Apart from the basic features, the luxury PVC card stands out from the simple version. It has an extra thick vanish with metallic colors (silver, bronze and gold).
PVC smart cards have super smooth surface ideal for digital printing. Images can be imprinted on them with ease. They are not erasable even when in contact with water. Have magnetic strip or chip that enables data storage and allow swiping. PVC cards have a scratch off area to conceal a code.. They are available in various colors, blue, pink, red, green and on request metallic colors can be manufactured e.g. bronze, silver and gold especially for different identification. It is tear and water proof.
The PVC smart cards can either have portrait or landscape design. Have crisps bar codes and custom code for security purposes. They are waterproof with special coating that allows absorption of ink in the card making it non-erasable. They contain dual interface to minimize card failure.
PVC cards requires special tray which works on certain printers. They are highly recommended for digital printing of highly detailed images. Inkjet or thermal dye sublime printer supports PVC card printing. They durable, flexible and easy to use. These printers are able to customize the bar codes and bar codes to enhance security. The cards have a double sided printing function. These cards are not compatible with standard desktop printers. PVC cards can only support thermography or pixartprinting.
The magnetic strip or chip allows data storage and well-suited with many software’s and applications. The magnetic strip cards have in built Postal Verification technology linked to contactless RFID smart card technology. They use frequencies to relay information. Dual interface feature minimizes card failure while increasing productivity and security. The bar codes eliminate duplication and fraud.
Functions of a PVC card
PVC cards are widely used in various sectors of the economy.
Telecommunication: PVC cards are used as SIM in GSM mobiles for example, phone cards, Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
Banking: Automatic Teller machines are made from PVC cards to store information on a particular customer. For example, name, branch, amount, gender. For example, debit and credit cards.
Identification: Institutions use PVC card for identification of personnel. Availability of various colors has made it easier to differentiate personnel in different departments or grades, or teams in sports, company badges for customer identification. PVC cards can be used to identify employees in a trade fair, conferences or events. For example, member’s identification cards, ID and badges, luggage cards, student’s cards.
Retail: Retail stores use these cards as value added service for its customers in form of smart/loyalty points. They can be redeemed depending on a particular store. The PVC cards have become a norm in many stores. For example, discount cards, marketing cards, promotion cards, loyalty cards.
Security: Areas considered high risk, have embraces PVC card technology for access. Either the contact or contactless, PVC cards are effective in service provision. For example, proximity cards, membership cards, access cards.
Health: Medical service providers use PVC card technology to give its members the right to access healthcare. For example, medical cover card which contain medical records, citizen health identification records and physical identification contacts, and even healthcare defaulters.
How do you acquire a PVC card?
Most manufacturers are a click away. Internet gives unbiased platform for all manufacturers and consumers to display satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The popularity of a product is evidenced by the positivity or negativity of customers’ review. All manufacturers are available online, once you visit the website, make an enquiry on the product, fill in an order form- in case of imprints or images. There are applications used to send the visual image online, the manufacturer’s desktop publishing department will design it for you either free or at a cost then customize your logo on the PVC card, send a sample physically for usability testing. If a customer is satisfied, an invoice is made for bulk purchase.
PVC card is the current trend in providing business solutions. Whether small, medium or large sized institutions. Smart cards bear an organization’s brand. It gives the attention to customers on the loyalty an organization owes them. It offers a sense of professionalism in business. Conservationist likes the PVC card technology for it conserves the environment. The choice of a PVC card is determined by the type of consumer, budget allocation including shipping costs, usage and design. Before making bulk purchase, manufacturers recommend testing of the card with the application intended to be used on to avoid wastage. All sectors of the economy use PVC card technology to run its operations. While embracing PVC card technology, the security of information is vital. Card technology is prone to fraud. Any institution should invest heavily on applications that protect the safety of data of its clients. However compared to the use of passwords, card technology has high level of security.