How to Print on Blank Cards

May 12th 2023

Plastic cards have become a popular choice for a variety of applications such as ID badges, membership cards, gift cards, and loyalty cards.

Printing on blank plastic cards is more complicated than printing on paper because a regular inkjet or laser printer will not work. Due to the card thickness, a special type of plastic card printer is needed.

The most popular type of blank PVC cards are 30 mil in thickness and CR-80 in size which is the same size and thickness as a standard credit card. In order to print directly onto something this thick, you will need a plastic card printer that is specifically designed to print on plastic. The most cost-effective solution for this would be a thermal card printer.

Some of the most popular brands are Evolis, HID / Fargo, Datacard, Zebra, and Magicard - each offering a wide range of models. Some printers can only print on one side at a time while others have a built-in duplexer that can automatically flip the card and print on the other side. This is a time-saver if you plan to print on both sides of the card. Others have the ability to encode magnetic stripes. Encoding is the term used to add data to a magnetic stripe that POS and other swipe systems can read. Smaller card printers are good when printing small quantities and larger, more durable models work better for large volume printing.

Once you’ve decided on a printer, take a look at the cost of compatible ribbons you will need to print on blank cards. Much like an inkjet printer, there are different varieties depending on the specific brand and model of printer that you purchase. They typically sell a CMYK version for color printing, another for black ink, and some also offer different colors or metallic options.

Plastic cards are incredibly versatile and have many uses in various industries. Some of the most common applications of plastic cards include:

  • Identification badges for employees, students, and guests
  • VIP passes for event attendees
  • Gift cards for retail stores and restaurants
  • Membership cards for clubs and organizations
  • Loyalty cards for businesses
  • Hotel room key cards
  • Access control cards for secure areas

Depending on which of the above uses you are looking to print your own plastic cards for, sometimes it is more cost effective to order blank cards, a plastic card printer, and ribbons so you can print them yourself. Cards are available in white blank cards, metallic blank cards, blank cards in standard colors, and blank cards in fluorescent colors - with or without a magnetic stripe.

Other times, it is more cost effective to order printed cards from a company that can offer a full service solution. Print Robot provides custom printed plastic cards that can either be shipped to you in a single batch or personalized on-demand using their prepaid shell program and fulfillment services.

A third option would be to order printed shells from Print Robot that have your background image, logo, etc. so you can personalize them yourself as needed using your plastic card printer with the information that changes from card to card.

In conclusion, it is definitely possible to print on blank cards using a plastic card printer.

Depending on your needs and the equipment you have on hand, it is sometimes more cost effective to order printed plastic cards from a company like Print Robot in a single batch or order printed card shells that can be personalized as needed.

About is the largest eCommerce website specializing in blank plastic cards that are compatible with all major brands of plastic card printers including Evolis, HID / Fargo, Datacard, Zebra, and Magicard. They offer blank PVC cards in a a wide selection of colors and options at affordable prices.