Plastic Business Card Printing Basics - at a Glance

Successful plastic business card printing programs are based on having cards with the right features and a design that stands out among the growing crowd of plastic cards most people carry.

Getting the card functions and the design right is important for both corporate incentive cards and for consumer gift cards. The features or functions you select will determine how easily consumers can use the cards and how easily you can manage our business gift card program. Design includes your artwork and the materials you select for printing. You can trust® for exact printing of any artwork on PVC or composite card material, size and shape.

Budget conscious buyers take note. You can save a few cents per cards and get great looking plastic business cards by printing full color graphics onto a white card material. You will still be able to use photos and quality logo graphics and multiple lines of colored text using this approach. Although printing a single color or two can cost less, printing on pre-colored plastic cards (like solid red or blue as examples) tends to cost more than using digital printing on less expensive white cards. For the best value – and the best printing results - we recommend using full color artwork with photos printed on standard white plastic business gift cards.

Don’t forget the back of the card!
The back of the card is often an overlooked messaging opportunity. Be sure to include your logo and tag line or other branding messages here. The mag stripe area takes up less than 15% of the entire back area – let your creative juices flow over to the back of the card!


3 3/8" x 2 1/8" is the common, or standard size, for plastic business card printing. Traditional credit cards are printed in this size which is also called CR 80. The smaller key ring card size, 1 1/6" x 2 7/8", is growing in popularity. The benefit of this smaller card is they are less costly, easier to carry, easier to distribute and are highly visible if used as a key ring.

What's the right size for your business gift cards?
Remember the old design adage, form follows function? That’s a good rule to apply here. Our recommendation is to use the standard, traditional size for plastic business card printing. If the gift message, graphics and personalization design elements are clearly visible on the key ring card size, then consider using the smaller size.

The standard size 3 3/8" x 2 1/8" allows enough room to print important graphic elements at sizes that can be easily read and instantly identified. The standard size provides an excellent canvas to display your logo, contact information, personalization and other elements as well. The larger size also takes greater advantage of the full color printing we recommend. Consider, too, that the larger cards are what most of your employees and customers carry in their wallets, purses and pockets.


30 mil white is the most popular and economical choice of plastic business card printing material. This is the same material thickness and size used in most traditional credit card printing. We also have other materials available such as 20 and 15 mil cards. Please be aware that these lighter weight cards are typically more costly – and they do not wear as well as the thicker 30 mil material.® offers lighter materials and will be happy to provide you with a custom quote within 24 hours of your request. The link below can be used for instant online pricing of standard materials or to request a custom material price.


Magnetic stripes, signature panels and even personalization are the most common options for plastic business cards. Magnetic stripes (or mag stripes) are used to encode cards with unique numbers used to track card value. Mag stripes can also include marketing and transactional information used within the gift card processing system. Signature panels are used to prove that the gift card belongs to the card holder. Uncertain about which features you need, review your answers to the questions below – or contact customer service for additional insight.
  Plastic Business Card Printing Options Questions:

  • Do you need to store data on the card?
  • Do you need to verify who the card holder is?
  • Does your business gift card program require distribution or tracking purposes via barcodes?
  • How frequently will one card be used (is the card re-chargeable, 1 time use, or fixed value?)
  • Do you currently have a business gift card program and process in-place?
  • Does your gift card process require a mag stripe, bar coding or numbered cards?

Here's an example based on a common business gift card program. If your plastic business cards will be used for repeat purchases – and if your cards cannot be re-charged - you‘ll want a mag stripe encoded with an actual dollar value.  The actual value of the unique number on each card is assigned to a certain dollar value that resides on your system or on a participating merchants system.   You will need to have a system for encoding the cards and for processing the cards once used. Please contact our customer service team if you’d like our help finding a reputable and affordable plastic business card processing system company.