How to choose the right equipment vendor for on-premise card production

If being able to immediately distribute access cards, photo ID badges, smart cards and key fobs is important to you, you may want to opt to make them on premise. This is not a small task – but choosing the right supplier of equipment and materials will make your life a lot easier. To make the right decision, be sure to get satisfying answers to these 13 questions.

  1. Does the vendor ensure high-quality products?

Make sure that the vendor chooses only high-quality manufacturers, that only original MIFARE RFID chips are sold, and that the vendor verifies that the frequency in the antennas of the RFID cards is optimized.

  1. Can you get the latest within RFID technology?

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency IDentification, and is the state-of-the-art technology for contactless cards and key fobs. The RFID technology is developing at a rapid speed – make sure that your vendor keeps up and offers you the latest, best and most secure RFID chips. Right now, as of May 2017, MIFARE DESFire EV1 and MIFARE DESFire EV2 are the best architecture platforms for cards.

Read blog post 4 reasons to upgrade to multifunctional smart cards

  1. Does the vendor offer materials to produce multifunctional smart cards?

There are many benefits with multifunctional smart cards; that is, cards that can be used for a wide variety of applications, such as opening of doors and cabinets, visual identification, computer login, access to cloud services, payments in the cafeteria and follow-me printing.

  1. Does the vendor offer a one-stop-shop for everything you need?

It makes your life easier if you can order everything needed to produce your own cards, tags and key fobs in one place. What equipment is needed varies from organization to organization, but typically you need photo capturing equipment, plastic card printers, encoding software, encoding hardware, table readers, blank cards and key fobs, and card holders.

  1. Can you order online?

This makes it possible to order 24/7, and you do not need to waste time on the phone, in meetings or writing emails.

    1. Can you get help choosing the right products for your needs?

Ordering online saves a lot of time – but make sure that the vendor also offers expert help for choosing the right products. Buying equipment and materials for producing your own cards and key fobs is not an easy task.

Guide How to choose the right access card and key fob acquisition method Download guide

  1. Is it possible to pre-configure ready-to-use cards and key fobs?

Some vendors offer the possibility to pre-configure basic cards and key fobs in their web shops so that they are ready to use with your access control systems when they arrive at your door. You can then personalize the cards on premise with names and pictures, or just use them as they are for less critical applications.

  1. Is it possible to decide the visuals of the tags and key fobs you order?

Some vendors also offer the possibility for you set up basic visuals of your ready-to-order personalized products in their web shops. This means that you can upload icons and logotypes, and pre-determine a range of different colors for key fobs and tags.

  1. Is it possible to personalize card holders and lanyards?

There is a wide range of different card holders on the market suited for different people’s needs and likes. The vendor may offer you several different card holders and lanyards, as well as the possibility to brand them with your organization’s logotype. It can save you a lot of time, money and effort if you easily can order ready-to-use personalized card holders to use with the cards you produce on premise.

  1. Does the vendor offer products enabling you to add visual security elements?

Adding visual security elements – such as UV prints and HoloKote® – make cards much harder to forge.

  1. Can you get technical support on-site?

Make sure that the vendor offers installation services and support with highly trained staff, competent in all the products that the vendor sells.

  1. Does your vendor offer interoperable IAM software?

It is a big plus if your vendor also offers identity and access management (IAM) software, in addition to everything you need for card and key fob production. A centralized IAM software lets you enforce uniform policies in the management of identities, credential data and physical access entitlements. You also get centralized and correct information on who is in possession of which physical or digital access credentials and entitlements at any given time.

  1. Does your vendor offer interoperable authentication software?

If you want to use the cards for windows login, digital signatures or single sign-on to your digital resources, it is beneficial to select a vendor that can provide interoperable authentication software.


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