Traditionally, custom holographic laminates carry a high minimum order, making it a sensible option for only larger issuers. Features like micro text or UV layers can also be added to the laminate to increase overall security. Generic holographic laminates, meanwhile, add some security and can keep data and images underneath from being altered on validly issued cards. Generic laminates are, however, available for purchase on the open market thereby making them less secure than custom laminates. Most printer models with lamination capabilities support both options.
Micro text printing
With the increasing availability of 600 dpi card printers, the ability to print true micro text is now a realistic option. Typeface printing as small as two-point font size can now be used, enabling you to print a very small field of static or variable data. A covert security feature, micro text can be confirmed with the use of a magnifier. 600 dpi printing is currently available only on certain retransfer card printers, two of which are offered by your local ISG dealers: the ISG PEAK RTX6000, and the new Datacard CR805.
Tactile impression is available only on certain Entrust Datacard printers, such as the CD800 CLM. It adds security that you can both see and feel, by using a custom die attached inside the card printer’s lamination module. The die can be something like a static security seal, or even your institution’s logo or emblem. The die impresses into the card surface during the lamination process. The result is an impressive tactile security feature that is quite affordable.
Is it a fit for me?
We estimate the use of card security features to be low in the higher education market today, with less than 10% of campuses leveraging these valuable features.
For those campuses that have implemented advanced card security, two of the more common features being used are holographic lamination and tactile impression. But with the growing availability of new 600 dpi retransfer printers we are seeing movement toward the use of UV Fluorescing ribbons and micro text printing, as well.
In a perfect world, deploying both a static, overt feature and a covert feature using variable images or data, provides a superior level of credential security. If your budget only allows for the implementation of a single security feature, however, then an overt feature is likely your best option, as it doesn’t require the use of special tools for verification.
At this point, you may be wondering if your campus card needs a security feature. Maybe your campus scans the card in every possible environment; isn’t that enough? This is a valid question, but scanning cards alone doesn’t fully guarantee that the card being presented has been validly issued.
It’s probably difficult to have a card reader on hand for every single event or purpose. And for campuses leveraging legacy card technologies like magnetic stripe or proximity, those cards can be easily cloned. Ultimately, if a person is willing to go to the trouble of forging a fake student ID card, they probably have the desire to create it with as much valid data and imagery as possible.
It’s important to remember that there are uses for fraudulent student ID cards beyond the confines of your campus, like for voting, underage drinking, or setting up false identities. Enhanced card security features can help deter these activities.
About the ISG
The Identification Systems Group (ISG) is a network of identification dealers serving North America. Our strength is local, on-site consultation and support, backed by our Professional Services Certification program. ISG dealers are experts in all aspects of card technology and issuance. ISG technicians are manufacturer trained and certified and follow the ISG Service Certification program, which includes ongoing education. ISG members also benefit from open sharing within the network of dealers to help find solutions to problems beyond suggestions provided by a manufacturer.