Gift Card Printing Basics - at a Glance® offer printing that features an eye catching design and includes all of the right features will result in cards that are sure to get used.

The basics of plastic card printing include card design and card functions. A great design combines your artwork with the right materials. We use high quality printing to assure that your design will be crisp and accurately printed. The features you add to your card will determine how easy your gift card program will be for customers to use - and for you to manage. Choose the features you need, including magnetic stripes, signature panels, barcodes and numbering.® is your best source for quality plastic card printing with all the features you need - at a great value. The guidelines below will help you successfully start your project.

The best value in printing can be to print full color graphics onto a white background. This approach enables you to use high quality graphics including photos, logos or multiple color lines of text. White cards tend to cost slightly less than colored cards and digital printing tends to cost slightly more than one color printing. The result - full color gift cards at nearly one color pricing. We recommend that you design your gift cards in full color to be printed on standard sized white cards.


The standard size for gift cards is 3 3/8" x 2 1/8". This size commonly referred to as a CR80, is the same as most traditional credit cards. There is a smaller size that is growing in popularity. The key card or key fob card is a compact 1 1/6" x 2 7/8".

What's the right size for your gift cards?
To choose the right size for your project, you need to think about what it is you want printed on the card face. If your brand is well established and your logo is well recognized, then using the smaller key cards could be the perfect solution. The smaller card can be more convenient for customers to use and it can be less expensive to print.

For most gift card and fundraising printing applications, the size of 3 3/8" x 2 1/8" is probably the best bet. This size allows you to use your logo and perhaps add your address or phone numbers as well. There should be room for your tag line, too. Another advantage of the larger cards is that they are what most of your patrons are used to the larger cards, which fit well into standard size card carriers, wallets and pockets. The standard size is also an economical alternative to custom sizes or shapes.


Standard white, 30 mil is the most economical choice of printing material. Traditional credit cards are printed on the same size and thickness as our standard cards. 20 and 15 mil white cards are readily available. These lighter weights are not always less expensive - nor do they wear as well as the thicker, standard weight stock. We do offer custom materials, but keep in mind that most custom materials are less economical than our standard white 30 mil plastic cards.


The most common options used are magnetic stripes and signature panels. Magnetic stripes (or mag stripes) are encoded with the unique number used to track values and information within the gift card processing system. Mag stripes are available on 20 and 30 mil plastic cards only. The signature panel is used to provide proof that the gift or fundraising card belongs to the card holder. If you're not sure which features you need, review your answers to the questions below:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you need to store data on the card?
Does your store(s) need to verify who the card holder is?
Do your gift cards require a barcode for tracking or distribution purposes?
How frequently will one card be used (is the car re-chargeable, 1 time use, or fixed value?)
Do you currently have gift card processing capabilities?
Does your gift card processing call for a magnetic stripe, bar-coding or just numbered cards?

As an example, will your gift cards be used for repeat purchases - can your gift cards be re-charged - does it need to reference the card balance? If so, you'll want to add a mag stripe encoded with the unique number – not an actual dollar value.  The actual value of the unique number on each card is assigned to a certain dollar value that resides on the merchant’s system.   If you do not have a system of processing capabilities, contact the customer service to learn how we can match you up with a gift card processing system company.