Switching from Key Fobs or Clamshell Cards to Wearable Prox Card ID Badges

Posted by Steve M. on 30th Mar 2018

Many organizations today are switching from proximity key fobs or clamshell cards to wearable photo ID badges for added security.

Prox card technology ID badges function as a credential to gain access through a door, gate or other hardware and a visual identifier to ensure personnel are authorized to be in the building — or certain room, area or level. Additionally, having employees and personnel wear ID badges with a name, title, photo and company logo will create a professional look for your organization.

How do I switch from key fobs or clamshell cards to ID cards/badges?

Switching from key fobs or clamshell cards to printable proximity cards is actually quite easy. The technology is same, whether it be a key fob, clamshell or printable ISO prox card for ID badges. A 26 bit ID card works the same as a 26 bit clamshell or keyfob.

As long as you know the bit format and applicable facility code or card range, switching from one credential to another is just a matter of choosing the credential type.

How do I print on proximity ID cards/badges?

You will need an ID card printer that prints on standard PVC or PVC/composite 30 mil ID cards. ID card printers are generally categorized into two groups — direct-to-card (dye sublimation) printers and retransfer (reverse transfer) printers. (Note: Some inkjet printer options are available, but these printers are generally not compatible with most proximity ID cards, as these printers require special inkjet-compatible PVC material)

  • Direct-to-Card - Direct-to-card printing is the most common technology used by desktop card printers to transfer images directly onto a PVC or composite card. While you can get a great quality image with deep blacks, this printing method does not provide full card coverage as a small white border will be at the edges of the card.
  • Retransfer - Retransfer printing technology uses a two-step process by first printing the image onto a thin clear layer that is then transferred onto the surface of a PVC or composite card. Retransfer ID card printers print over the edge, so ID badges printed with a retransfer printer will feature a true edge-to-edge look.

You will also see the terms single-sided (simplex) and dual-sided (duplex), which indicates whether the ID card printer is designed to print on one side of the ID card/badge or on both sides. These features are things to consider as you design your ID badge.

Need help?

No problem! Contact us and we'll help you transition from key fobs or clamshell cards to ID cards.