The reasons behind wear and tear on ID cards (two of four)

Written By John Fieldsend
the reasons

Here we look at how to avoid the effects of wear and tear by addressing card durability, security requirements, print quality and protection.

Having previously explored what impact wear and tear on ID cards have, here we consider why it happens in the first place. Outside of a visitor badge or ID at an event, it is likely that a card has to be used every day for a multitude of purposes: access to different parts of a building, to data, for payments in a canteen and more.

Plus, if it’s a magnetic stripe card, how many times is it going to be swiped each day or pressed to gain entry? Will the card be exposed to extremes of temperatures? Will it be used outside in wind, rain and sun which fades colours? How essential is the quality of print /image for security in your organisation? Do your employees work in environments where there cards could be exposed to chemical fumes?

At the most basic, with the best care in the world, taking a card in and out of a pocket or wallet, it will be rubbed (made worse if it is left in a pocket and goes through the wash). The ink will start to rub off to the point of illegibility and photos will gradually bear little resemblance to the card holder. And even though we’re washing our hands even more than usual, the build up of oil and dirt on our fingers only adds to the ink degradation.

Then there’s the inevitable abrasion which will occur in day-to-day use. Even the smallest, barely visible scratches can build up to all but obscure facial features on a photo. Not to mention how it’s used by the wearer; after all, it has been known for cards to split when users employ them as window screen ice scrapers or fading and warping when left exposed to the sun.

It is also worth considering that any damage that is accepted as “just wear and tear” may be hiding evidence of tampering which could have severe security implications.

In our next instalment, we look at how to minimise the effects of wear and tear including the importance of card durability and appropriateness to the printer you are using, how the power supply can affect print results right down to the design of the card itself.