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Click on the letters below to move through our Glossary of Card Terms



Access Control Card - Plastic cards that are used to gain access to premises, usually associated with magnetic stripe and proximity cards.

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Bar Code - An array of machine-readable rectangular bars and spaces arranged in a specific way defined in international standards to represent letters, numbers, and other human-readable symbols.

Bleeds - Artwork that extends beyond the actual size of the card.

Blister Packs
- A package designed for hanging on J-hooks. It consists of a cardboard printed backer, with the card sealed in to a clear plastic blister.

Branding - Commonly referred to as engraving.

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Camera Ready Art - Printable film or the electronic equivalent to facilitate printing.

Combo Card - One or two key tags attached to a CR80 card.CR50 Card - Luggage tag sized card (3 1/2" x 2 3/32" x .020).CR80 Card - Standard credit card size (3 3/8" x 2 1/8" x .030).

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Digital Imaging - Scanning or otherwise capturing images which may be subsequently edited, filed, displayed or printed on a plastic card. Dye Sublimation - An imaging method for transferring controlled quantities of printer ribbon dye onto a plastic card.

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Electronic Art - Graphics in a digital format to work with computer design and imaging applications. Embossing - Raised letters or numbers usually tipped in either black or gold foil. Encoding - The process of electronically "writing" information on magnetic stripes or smart card chips.

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Flat Packs - Designed for hanging on J-hooks. Consists of an affixed card seen through a flat window. Foil Stamping - Hot stamp printing is achieved by using pressure and heat to affix colored foil in to the plastic surface. Font - A character set (alphabet and numerals) of a specified design and size.

Four Color Process - Printing in full color using four color separation negatives - yellow, magenta, cyan and black. When blended, these four colors reproduce only a small portion of all the colors found in nature, but they can reproduce the widest range with the fewest inks when printing.

Fulfillment - The process by which the card is matched to a letter, inserted into an envelope, metered and delivered to the post office. Personalization is available using several different methods along with continuous form equipment or individual piecework.

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Gift Card - Standard or custom size CR80 card. Stored value is placed on the card through magnetic striping or bar coding.

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Halftones - Dot system of color photos to black and white. Hologram - A unique photographic printing that provides a three-dimensional effect on a flat surface. Holograms cannot be easily copied and are used for security and aesthetic purposes on cards.

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I.D. Card - Card which identifies both the bearer and the issuer. All financial transaction cards are I.D. cards.

Image Capture System - A hardware and software system used to obtain and save personal data and cardholder photographic images.

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Key Card - Plastic card used to gain access to premises, usually associated with magnetic stripe and proximity cards.

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Lamination - The process of combining lamination material and core material using time, heat and pressure.

Loyalty Card - Standard (CR80) or custom size card that have off line accounting for capabilities such as mileage or merchandise purchases.

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Machine-Readable - A code or characters that can be read by machines.

Magnetic Stripe - Magnetic material, applied as a strip in the surface of a card, used to encode cardholder information.

Memory Card - A type of smart card. Also known as a synchronous card, it features 256 bit or 32 byte memory and is suitable for use as a token card or identification card.

Microprocessor Card - A type of smart card, also known as an asynchronous card. Features 1 kilobyte to 64 Kbytes of memory and is suitable for portable or confidential files, identification, tokens, electronic purse or any combination of uses.

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Overlay Varnish - A thin, transparent layer applied to cards to resist scratching and fading from exposure to UV radiation.

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Personalization - Printing encoding and programming a card with data specific to an individual cardholder.

Phone Card - A stored value card that allow the user to access pre-paid long distance. The long distance is generally accessed via a PIN number (stored value), which is usually covered by a scratch-off panel for security.

PMS - Pantone Matching System used by printers for color standardization.

Prepaid Card - A card paid for at Point of Sale, permitting the holder to buy goods or services up to the prepaid value.

Prox Card - Short for Proximity card; a form of contactless smart card used for access control applications. Embedded in the card is a metallic antenna coil, which allows it to communicate with an external antenna. Because the cards require only close "proximity" to a RF antenna to be read, they are also referred to as contactless cards.

PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride. The primary material used for typical plastic cards.

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Resolution - Dimension of the smallest element of an image that can be printed. Usually stated as dots-per-inch (dpi).

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Screen Tints - Determined by percentage of colors.

Signature Panel - The area of an I.D. card where the cardholder enters a signature.

Smart Card / Contact Smart Card - Also called a "chip" card or IC card. A plastic card with an embedded microchip, which may be used to store information about the cardholder or record card transactions as they occur.

Swipe Packaging - Designed to hold a card with a magnetic stripe for point of sale activation.

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Thermal Printing - The process of creating an image on a plastic card using a heated print head.

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YMC - Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan are the primary print colors for cards. The three colors are combined in varying degrees to make a full spectrum of colors. YMCKO is the same as YMC plus Black (K) and clear protective overcoat (O).

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