Loyalty cards are a well-known marketing tool which is used in shops, service companies, and other companies who want to nurture relationships with its returning clients. In exchange for various benefits such as discounts, prizes, birthday gifts, various coupons, the card issuer gets the client contact information and approvals for additional marketing activities that increases the sales.
The way loyalty cards work is very easy understandable for all generations. The customer shows the card and gets benefits in return. There is no need to install mobile applications or use other more complicated technology.
Loyalty cards are plastic cards with the usual shape and size as credit cards. The dimensions are defined by standard ISO/IEC 7810:2003 ID-1 and are 85.60 mm x 53.98 mm x 0.76 mm.
They are usually double-sided, color-printed PVC cards with the loyalty club artwork. The bar code or QR code with a serial number is the cheaper option for fast identification, but we often produce loyalty cards with various RFID or NFC microchips as well. The microchips provide secure transactions and are especially suitable for micro payments, collecting loyalty points and other applications.
There are many options for printing loyalty cards:
1. Quantities 1–500 pcs. we print with thermo re-transfer printers;
2. Larger quantities of loyalty card we print with offset printing technology
3. For serialization or personalization, we use thermal printers with monochrome ribbons (black, white, silver, gold color).
Print with Thermal Retransfer Printers
When ordering 1–500 printed cards, we use thermo retransfer printers which print CMYK colors in the stunning resolution of 600 dpi. When printing with thermo retransfer technology, the card artwork is printed on a thin transparent foil with artwork that is laminated to a card surface. The printed artwork is therefore protected with a thin plastic layer, and is wear and scratch resistant.
The advantage of thermo retransfer printers is that they print one card at a time, which allows us to print even a single card when needed. This printing technology is perfect for cards which contain microchips, as well.
The disadvantages of a thermal retransfer print are the high costs of ribbons and slow speed, so it makes it less cost effective for higher quantities.
Offset printing technology for cards
Offset printing technology is used for printing larger amounts of loyalty cards. The starting quantity for offset print is 500 pcs., but since the price per card is more affordable for larger quantities the most frequent orders are for 1000 cards and more.
When using the offset printing technology, the plastic sheets are printed during the card production process, the sheets are later laminated together, and lastly the cards are cut out to a standard shape. For the printing, we usually use digital printing with CMYK colors that we combine with silk screen printing when there is a need for Pantone colors or metallic effects (golden colors, silver, glitter, etc.).
When producing printed cards, we often add the following features:
- RFID or NFC TK4100 microchips (Mifare®, NTAG, ICODE®, DESFire®, EM4200 and others)
- Signature panels which allow users to write on the card surface data with a pen
- Magnetic stripe for magnetic card readers (HiCo or LoCo)
- Card punching – holes on the side of the card for lanyards or clips
- Security holograms and other security elements
- Custom cutting to produce cards in different shapes.
Cards printed with offset printing technology are very high quality, durable, and cost effective, but the manufacturing process is quite complicated, and so the usual production time is 2–3 weeks.
Serialization or personalization
When a client needs larger quantity of personalized loyalty cards, we do a preprint with offset printing technology, and a successive personalization with the client’s data. For this purpose, we use special thermal printers which can print in black, white, gold, or silver.
Our services include:
- Numeration or personalization from an Excel table
- Printing different kind of barcodes and QR codes
- Reading and printing the chip ID numbers in various formats
- Chip encoding – writing custom data, change keys.
When reading and printing the chip ID numbers on cards, we take extra care that the reading format is correct for the desired application.
In addition to loyalty cards, we can also provide printed application forms, the labels with barcodes and other solutions for making the data capturing form application forms as easy as possible.
Looking forward to your new loyalty cards? Send an email to email@example.com or call +38641 884 124 and we will be happy to help you.