Access Control Cards Printing Basics At-A-Glance


Access control cards are an important tool for the security and control of your business or organization. The information below can help you make sure that your access control cards printing is done by an experienced, professional plastic cards printing company. Leverage®’s experience to ensure that your access control cards have the best barcode printing, mag stripes, staff picture quality and signature panel features available.

About Printing on Colored Plastic Cards

Printing on colored plastic cards limits your design options, particularly if your cards will include images or barcodes. Images will stand out better if printed on white cards. Barcodes will scan better if printed on white cards. For these reasons, and for overall quality assurance, we recommend digital printing methods - using full color printing for your access control cards on white cards. Digital printing gives you excellent quality and the design options most needed in access cards printing. If you are in need of a colored card with simple graphics (no photos, as an example), you can choose to imprint your graphics onto colored access control cards for a simpler card design.


Access control cards size is determined by your access control system. 3 3/8” x 2 1/8” is the standard size for most access control systems, though you should verify the size of your cards before ordering. The 3 3/8” x 2 1/8” card is credit card sized and is sometimes referred to as the CR 80 size. Please note that most access control card printing is done on thinner plastic not on the same thickness that is used for credit card printing.

What’s the right size for your access control cards?
If you are re-supplying your access control card supplies, simply measure one of your current cards or consult your access control system information. If you are ordering access control cards for a new system - or for the first time - be certain to get the card specifications from your access control system vendor. You can rely on an access control card printing specialist, like®, for all of your card printing.

You can always send us a sample of the cards you use now or the specifications from your system provider. We will quickly review your sample or specs and promptly provide you with pricing based on your needs.


Our standard white 30 mil plastic is the most commonly used access control card printing material. Before placing your order, verify the card thickness that your access control card system requires. If you need help determining the correct thickness of material for your access control cards, just send us a sample of your current access cards. Using a special tool called a micrometer; we will measure your card thickness accurately and report the thickness back to you. If your access control card system uses a non-standard material, we can still print your cards for you. Please keep in mind that custom materials are less economical than our standard white 30 mil white plastic cards.

Our other standard access control card printing materials include 20 mil white plastics. All of our standard materials are printed in high quality using digital printing and each card can include a magnetic stripe, barcodes, signature panel and high quality pictures or other images.


For most access control card systems, you will want your cards to have these elements: A Magnetic Stripe - The magnetic stripe is used to encode card-holder details and manage card usage. A Signature Panel - The signature panel is used to verify the card holder with signatures on file. A Barcode -Though optional, barcodes can provide a redundant option to the mag stripe and enhance overall card security