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Plastic Card Printing - Before and Now.

Perhaps you are like other commercial printers who one day considered expanding into printed card products but found the high cost of entry into this market prohibitive . There’s reason to revisit the return-on-investment for equipment required to get into producing printed cardproducts. One factor is the sustained and growing demand in the USA for the variety of card products that are now quite popular worldwide – especially for the short runs that smaller commercial print shops would find within their scope. Another significant factor is that now the price of entry into this market is considerably less— now in the $ 35,000+ range, instead of the hundred/s of thousands of Dollars investment required before.

Which types of printed cards do we mean? The beauty of this market opportunity is in fact the number of different types of printed card applications there are in the standard wallet-sized card dimensions (called CR80 cards). Membership cards are one example. Libraries, schools, clubs, membership organizations — the potential roster of local customers who will need membership ID cards of one type or another is considerable. It’s quite plausible that membership card customers would come your way simply by responding to signage in your shop announcing membership card printing capabilities. These are usually repeat customers. While some ID cards, such as drivers’ licenses, often involve adding security features beyond the scope of typical commercial print shops, a healthy number of membership ID cards are not secure cards and do not require extra equipment.

Phone cards are ubiquitous, but it was not so long ago that they were a rarity. Indeed, most of the global leaders in phone card products started out as relatively small commercial print shops. There is still room for others to enter this market, but developing a niche in phone cards will probably require more than initial equipment investments and making signs announcing your card printing capabilities. You will need to call on businesses already established in the prepaid phone card niche to see if outsourcing actual card manufacture is consistent with their business model.

Gift cards are another market, already quite popular in the U.S. Those of us familiar with how this gift card market mushroomed so quickly in the U.S. are well aware of how the third party transaction processors helped drive the market

Similarly loyalty cards are now commonplace. Here too it is the tremendous financial return that such cards give retailers that is driving this market. As early as 2011 it was reported that 85% of USA households had one or more loyalty cards. Customers like the perks that such cards provide. Retailers like the mountain of information on shopping patterns that enable them to better structure pricing and the like for higher return.

Hotel key cards are another card product that could hardly be imagined a decade ago that today is quite commonplace. Here too the run length for these type printed cards is usually relatively short and within the scope of smaller print shops that are equipped for card manufacture.

Don’t be daunted by the number of cardmanufacturers one can find on the Internet. Most card manufacturers have well-developed niches in high value financial cards or multi-layered security cards that require considerable investment in secure manufacturing facilities and processes. These companies, especially if they are relative behemoth-sized, have considerable overhead and many cannot be competitive in short runs of cards without expensive security features. However, it should be noted that many of the world’s high profile card manufacturers started out as commercial print shops.