How to Create RFID ID Cards

Written by steve struthers
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How to Create RFID ID Cards
RFID devices can help secure your business against intrusion. (rfid tags image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com)

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) utilises chip-sized radio devices embedded in ID cards or tags for identification purposes. Some RFID ID cards have built-in microprocessors to handle more advanced security needs. When the card is in close proximity to a RFID detector, it transmits data stored in the RFID chip. Identification cards using RFID technology can protect your business or organisation from unauthorised visitors or theft.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Dedicated ID card printer
  • Desktop publishing software
  • RFID ID card blanks
  • RFID programming device

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Create your ID card design using desktop publishing software such as Corel Draw or Adobe InDesign. If you will be printing multiple cards on a sheet of pre-perforated blanks, set up a printing template that defines the card dimensions, the space between each card and the margins between the cards and the carrier sheet. Ensure that your design leaves a blank space for any exposed RFID chips, so that the printer will not print on the chips. Set the printer profile to permit full-bleed printing so that the entire ID card is printed. This way, printing errors can be minimised or eliminated.

  2. 2

    Load RFID ID blanks into the ID card printer and print the cards using the design you created above. Inspect the completed cards for any printing errors. Correct the card design or printing template if necessary, then reprint the cards using a fresh set of blanks.

  3. 3

    Insert the printed ID cards into an RFID programming device and load the RFID chips with the desired data. Test the programmed cards using an RFID reader or detection device and reprogram if there are any errors.

  4. 4

    Distribute the cards to individuals who are designated card holders.

Tips and warnings

  • For best results, use a dedicated ID card printer. Most consumer-grade inkjet printers cannot handle the thicker plastic that blank RFID cards are made of. However, some Epson inkjet printers can accept single ID cards using special carrier trays. A good example of a dedicated ID card printer that can handle blank RFID ID card media is Fargo's DTC4500 Card Printer/Encoder.
  • Use high-quality ID card media. Cheap RFID ID card blanks are less durable, and the printing on them may fade quickly.
  • Some blank RFID cards have the RFID chip embedded in the ID card so that it is not visible, while others have a plainly visible chip.
  • Destroy any unusable cards to prevent them from being used by unauthorised individuals.
  • RFID cards can expose individuals who carry them to substantial privacy risks. Therefore, it's a good idea to investigate any potential risks. Consult a lawyer if you're uncertain about privacy laws and how they relate to RFID technologies.
  • RFID ID cards are not a foolproof way of keeping intruders out. RFID ID cards can be lost, stolen or forged.
  • Incorrect implementation of RFID ID systems can expose your business or organisation to unanticipated security risks.

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