The Industry Leader in
Identity Management Products

Close this search box.

(800) 688-9202

The Industry Leader in Identity Management Products

(800) 688-9202

Our ID experts are READY TO HELP YOU find the ideal Card Printer

We like to take the guesswork out of the equation – if you’re finding more questions than answers, GIVE US A CALL. Contact us today and we’ll help you find your ideal ID Card Printer solution.

1. Understand the Technology

Every printer we offer supports mag stripe and smart card encoding, and with our experts vetting your selection, you’ll always choose right with K&A. 

Mag Stripe Encoding

The original “standard” of access control, mag stripes hold simple data that is read when swiped through a physical reader. ID card printers with mag stripe encoding are the affordable, straight-forward solution for one-application ID cards like transportation tickets, loyalty cards, university meal plan or dining cards, and simple access control cards. 

Contact Chip Encoding​

Using embedded external integrated circuit (IC) chips, contact smart cards take advantage of a powerful, high-capacity memory chip that can hold more data than mag stripes. Depending on the type of card stock, a microprocessor allows for programmable logic to process data, while an “intelligent” controller can be used to securely update data information. 

Contactless Chip Encoding​

Required for internal RFID chips, this upgraded encoding capability provides stronger security and can hold more data for diverse applications, making contactless chip encoding a staple for the redundant access control applications of government PIV credentials and hospital employee ID cards. Contactless smart cards also contain an embedded antenna for reading and writing data contained in the chip. 

2. Choose the Right Print Method for the Tech​

  • Direct-to-Card (Dye-Sublimation) print method is a legacy method that still rules the market due to ease and affordability. WARNING: Contactless RFID cards are a bumpy railroad track for a direct-to-card printer due to their uneven surface! We recommend retransfer print methods for smart cards.
  • High definition Retransfer or Reverse Transfer print methods use a newer technology that prints on a film that gets fused to the card. It fills in all the little surface grooves, extends to the very edge of the card, and results in a superior-quality print.

3. Consider Any Bells and Whistles​

A printer that meets your needs now saves you money today, but a printer model that allows for upgrade modules can satisfy your needs in the future too. Read on and consider all applications — for today and into the future.

Volume Requirements

Plan your ID card print load. Several printer options come with attached hoppers. If you have medium to high-volume print needs, investing in a more expensive printer upfront may actually save you money on labor and supply costs in the future.

Single- vs. Dual-Sided Printing

Don’t limit your future. We always recommend Dual-Sided printing capabilities to give you maximum flexibility for information added to your ID cards, and to support future endeavors without investing in a whole new printer. Trying to save money now? Consider a printer model that allows for a dual-sided upgrade module.

Lamination Capabilities

Adds durability and security

  • Durability — If using a mag stripe or bar code, we recommend that you laminate to protect the surface of an ID card while using swipe readers. Lamination also drastically increases the lifespan of contactless cards, and is highly recommended for any long-term use such as student ID cards or employee ID cards that are expected to last several years.

  • Added security — Many laminates can include holographic images to add authenticity to your ID card and reduce the probability of false reproductions by easily spotting fake cards.

Long-term, durable ids Pair your laminating printer with PET/PVC composite cards to withstand the high-heat process. Pair your laminating printer with PET/PVC composite cards to withstand the high-heat process.

4. Address Security Concerns

  • ESTABLISH AUTHENTICITY — One of the most cost-effective ways to add security to ID cards is a unique UV pattern — UV ink ribbon proves a card’s validity when held under a black light.


  • WARD OFF DUPLICATIONS — Take your security cues from state-issued IDs with lamination that protects more than the physical state of a card — holographic overlays make cards more difficult to duplicate.


  • PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT — Retransfer print methods leave a negative image of the card on the discarded film — ribbon shredders shred that vulnerability.


  • SECURE SENSITIVE CREDENTIALS — Ultimately, mag stripes and proximity card technology will always be vulnerable to cloning —K&A offers secure ID cards with crypto key sets that cannot be compromised.

5. Assess Existing Software & Networking Compatibilities

Identity Management Software is required to design and code an ID card and must be compatible with the ID card printer you purchase. If you are already using a specific ID software, be sure to refer to the software manufacturer’s list of approved printers for a seamless integration into your existing system.

Looking for New Software? K&A offers several identity management software options from the leading authorities on identity management products.

6. Keep Your Old Printer ​

You can keep your old printer running too! We offer a one-time FREE SERVICE of your OLD printer when you purchase a NEW PRINTER & MAINTENANCE PLAN from K&A.

7. Plan for Repair & Service ​

You can extend the life of your ID card printer up to 20 years by performing routine preventative maintenance and cleaning that averts card slippage, broken ribbons, wasted cards, and broken printers.

We understand loyalty to an existing contract with repair companies, but if you’re in the market, consider these completely unbiased (wink, wink) and crucial factors:

Interested in a repair service contract that meets these standards? K&A offers comprehensive, annual ID card printer service contracts that keep your badging system in tip-top shape. Because at K&A, “We Do ID Right”!

Finding more questions than answers?

We carry a wide variety of ID card printers for all types of badging needs. Shop yourself after reading through our 7 Step ID Card Printer Buying Guide.

Keep your printers stocked and ready for your print runs! Clear and holographic polyester laminates, retransfer film, ink ribbons, ink cartridges, & PVC card stock.

From initial sales to setup to ongoing maintenance & service, K&A is your reliable partner, ensuring your Card Printer thrives throughout its lifespan.