How to choose the perfect ID card printer for your business

Getting the Right Badge

How to choose the perfect ID card printer for your business

Each industry has its own specific requirements for photo ID card solutions. The guidelines used by each market vary depending on the type of badges that companies need to print and the frequency. There are many different types of ID badges that most organizations use which include employee ID cards, visitor ID cards, access control cards or student/faculty ID cards.

The main purpose of these cards is to identify who has access to a facility on a daily basis. Most businesses need to be able to print badges quickly and on the spot to help create a secure environment where people feel safe and secure. By having the ability to print photo ID Badges on premises, organizations can streamline their business processes and develop an enhanced security system that improves efficiency and safety throughout the facility.

By investing in the right photo ID printer, organizations can reap the benefits of having the ability to issue ID badges on-site for new hires and visitors immediately. It all starts with finding the right printer for your firm. This can sometimes be a daunting task as the options can be overwhelming and difficult to differentiate.

Whether you are a small business or large corporation, the benefits of selecting the right on-site photo ID card printer are tremendous.


Outside of the corporate sector, ID cards have been widely adopted in the education market and continue to be a main focal point of most schools and college campuses around the world. A photo ID badge can help schools visually identify students, staff and visitors and at the same time can be used to control access to buildings, manage equipment checkouts, lunch programs, and even pay for campus purchases. There are certain ID printers that have been designed to meet the requirements of schools and can print not only student and faculty IDs but library cards, volunteer IDs, payment cards, and event IDs. Deciding what you want to include on your badge up front can help determine the best ID printer to invest in.

A prime example of how a school can benefit from purchasing a photo ID printer is The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Campus. The college worked with - to help them select the right ID card solution for the school. They recently purchased a new Fargo DTC1250e printer. All student ID Badges are generated in-house from the Mayaguez Office of the Dean of Students with their own ID badge printer. In order for a student to receive a badge, they need to provide an original legal identification document (driver license, passport) and they also need to provide evidence of enrollment in the present or upcoming semester by showing a payment receipt. Without these documents, a student would not receive a photo ID badge and could not access campus services throughout the university. The ID badge is required to take exams, borrow audiovisual equipment or books, access computer labs, and for any service requested on campus.


Whether you are in the healthcare, education, or transportation industry, there are certain features of an ID card printer that should be reviewed prior to purchasing one. Two important factors that will help determine the type of printer you need is the size of your company and if you require a high volume application. Other key points to consider when choosing a printer are printing singleor double-sided, connecting the printer to a computer or multiple computers, the amount of cards needed to be printed and how secure the cards need to be.

Do you need to print on one side or both sides?

If you are planning to print on one side of a card, choose a single-sided ID card printer. Compact and easy-to-use, single-sided card printers are perfect to print basic visual IDs. Print your logo, the cardholder’s name and picture, and even a barcode.

If you need to print on both sides, go for a duplex ID card printer. Duplex, or dual-sided, printers will automatically flip your cards to print on both sides in one pass. This option allows you to include more information to your cards such as a schedule for student IDs or contact information for membership cards.

Will your card printer be connected to a network?

Card printers come standard with a USB interface to connect your printer to your computer. However, if several computers need to access your card printer, you will need Ethernet connectivity.

Some manufacturers offer USB and Ethernet as standard but some don’t, so make sure to select a card printer with Ethernet if needed.

Will you store data on your cards?

If the answer is yes, you will have to choose a printer with the right encoder. You can choose from one of two options: magnetic cards or smart cards.

Magnetic cards are widely used for access control or time & attendance, magnetic encoding is an affordable way to create secure badges, while smart cards are used if you need extra security or need to store more data into your cards, go with a printer with smart card encoder. If crowd control is an issue, RFID cards would definitely add convenience to your access control process. How many cards will you print per year?

Entry-level printers are built to print up to a few hundred cards a year. If the amount of cards that you need to print is much higher, look for card printers that are designed for high volumes.

A key component is the card feeder: when entry-level printers offer manual feeding or a 50-card input hopper, high-volume printers can include a feeder with a capacity of 500 cards.

Do you need highly-secure cards?

To reduce the risk of counterfeiting or tampering, go with laminated cards. Adding a clear or custom layer of protection to your cards will help you create highly-secure badges. Laminating card printers offer lamination on one side or both sides of the cards.


Another company reaping the benefits of investing in their own ID card printer is Mueller Reports, a company that provides data collection and business intelligence solutions for insurance carriers and financial institutions. With field representatives, managers, and trainers in 50 states, the main challenge Mueller Reports faced was having customers easily recognize them as Mueller employees when on the road.

The ability to limit who had access to the main headquarters in Buffalo to employees only was also imperative. Mueller needed to find a solution that would help keep their employees and information safe and secure.

“Due to the wide array of employees we have on staff throughout the nation, it was important for us to find an ID card company who could keep up with our expansion throughout 50 states,” said Tanya L. Petrea, logistic coordinator at Mueller Reports. “We were lucky to find IDSecurityOnline who has proven to be extremely knowledgeable on badge printers and can quickly get us thousands of ID cards, eliminating any downtime for our company.

For the last four years, Mueller Services has being working with IDSecurityOnline and can print all badges internally for their wide-range of employees spanning 50 states. The relationship began when Mueller’s IT manager purchased an ID Badge Printer and recommended using IDSecurityOnline for all ID Cards. The recommendation paid off as the company can now manage their staff effectively in every state. Mueller has thousands of employees and has purchased badges for each employee. As an added safety measure, field representatives are given two badges to wear so they can be easily recognized by customers.

Each badge contains the person’s name, company and photo which is worn by all field representatives, managers, trainers, office workers and anyone that is employed by Mueller Reports. Customers can now quickly recognize a Mueller employee anywhere in the nation and time-sensitive information can continue to flow freely without any delays. It was important to Mueller to make sure that customers felt comfortable and at ease when meeting with Mueller’s professionals. Each employee is required to wear their ID Cards at all times while on the job. The cards are swiped upon entrance into the Buffalo, N.Y. facility and the identity of each employee is confirmed upon entry.

“We are happy that we gave Mueller Reports the ability to print badges internally, which in return allowed them to make ID cards quickly for new employees and keep expanding the organization to exceed over 1,000 employees.” said Gabriel Schonzeit, CEO of “Our goal is to help forge strong relationships with our clients and be part of their growth by providing the right ID Card Solutions to help keep their employees safe and secure no matter how quickly they grow.”

As companies continue to grow and expand their workforce, it’s imperative that they have a plan in place for their ID card solutions and continue delivering a safe environment for everyone. By investing in the right photo ID card printer, the company is investing in the future safety of their employees.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Security Today.

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