09 Nov 2012

What Are ID Cards Used For And Why You Need To Get Them Right

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What are ID cards used for? It’s a question that gets thrown at me from time to timeUp until recently, people tended to carry an ID card in order to be identified. Nowadays, ID cards are multi-functional and can be used in a wide variety of ways. Modern technology has allowed us to carry only one card around with us which we can use in many different places and for numerous reasons.

Initially, people carried a driver’s license which incorporated a photograph of them but today there are many ID cards where photos are added as standard procedure. Indeed, even certain wholesalers require customers to produce a photo ID pass when shopping in their stores.

What are id cards used for?

Employee ID Cards

Larger offices such as the civil service have used Employee IDs since the early 1970s. It’s far more common now to see the majority of employees wearing an ID card with their photograph, name and details about their job. The great thing now is that these IDs can be used to ‘clock in’ so that a person’s attendance is automatically acknowledged and this gives management access to information about the employee’s time keeping and hours worked.

Alternatively, an employee ID card can be used to gain access to rooms which are security protected. Without these multi-use cards, organizations such as banks, prisons, hospitals and government buildings would not be able to function as effectively.

Visitor Badges

Certain buildings have to be far stricter about security so it’s necessary for any person who doesn’t work there to be issued with a visitor badge. This enables the security system employed by that particular business to be completely in control of who has access to the building. These badges allow holders to register at the reception area or front desk, and a computerized security software system stores all of this information. In essence, these visitor badges prevent anyone from gaining entry without a relevant pass.

Buildings such as schools and universities have high tech security in place because the student’s safety and welfare has to be protected at all times. A visitor to a school or college would not be given a badge without official proof of why they needed to be allowed inside the building.

Contractor IDs

Many businesses have employee contractors carry out work for them and in these situations, the contractors would be given a temporary badge to allow them the access they require. These badges give business owners the advantage of being able to track who has been authorized to enter specific areas of the building. By wearing these ID cards, contractors are also identifying themselves to the actual employees of the business and this gives peace of mind to workers as it lets them know that these badges have been awarded using official procedures.

Time and Attendance

Over the last two decades, employees have changed their way of registering their attendance in the workplace. They used to ‘sign in’, ‘key in’ or ‘clock in’ but thanks to modern technology, their employee IDs double up as an attendance tool so that when a security machine acknowledges their presence each day, it automatically clocks the time that the person started work that day. Management has a database which contains the hours that employees have been present in the workplace. This form of time keeping is far more efficient than the original methods used.

Access Control

ID cards can be used in order to designate who is allowed in specific areas of a building. Many cards now incorporate this type of access into the card to ensure that certain employees are only allowed entry into certain parts of a complex or building. Because of sensitive information or security reasons, it’s important that only specific employees are allowed in certain places. Examples of those who need specific access are upper management or a person who specializes in a certain field.

Physical Access to Buildings and Restricted Areas

The reason for the majority of most security systems is to prevent undesirables or intruders into a place. An employee of a business or building will carry a valid ID card which will be recognized if it is shown or swiped to reading equipment. A person without an ID badge will not be allowed access so this helps to increase safety.

Logical Access to Computers and Networks

These days, many office workers hold ID cards which are embedded with smart chips. Without the addition of these miniscule chips, workers would be unable to gain access to certain computers, VPN, specific email and networks. These types of cards basically allow people to gain access to the information that they require in order to carry out certain tasks as part of their jobs.

Data Encryption

Occasionally, business-related information can be of a sensitive nature so an ID card which carries data encryption will allow access to files and folders which are protected for whatever reasons. Certain employees will most definitely have to be granted access to this secure information and that is why these encrypted cards were designed. The creation of date encrypted cards mean that information which is sensitive can only be gained by the privileged few who carry an encrypted card.

Name Badges

ID cards are often laminated cards or printed PVC cards. They usually show a photograph oflanyard around their necks or clipped on to an item of clothing so that they are easily accessible and visible. As wwho work with the public.

Event Badges

Event badges are an absolute must for occasions where there will be large numbers of people in the same place. The growing popularity of summer music festivals and concerts mean that hundreds of thousands of people can all be gathered in one large place such as an arena or even a field. An event badge can help to control crowds which could potentially prevent any safety issues. They also allow the general public to know who the officials are and who they can trust if they should need assistance.


Many people like to take advantage of incentive programs such as holding a loyalty card for a particular store or business. Similar cards to ID cards are given to customers to acknowledge their participation in a loyalty program. Possessing a loyalty card can often give holders certain privileges such as discounts or invitations to special promotional offers so they are definitely worth having.


People have been issued with membership cards for decades whenever they joined an organization to prove that they are a valid member. Of course, these days the membership cards are far more advanced than a simple piece of card with a person’s name and address. Memberships tend to have photographs of the individual and may allow them access to a building or service. These types of ID cards are regularly used in places such as libraries, gyms and DVD rental companies. The cards make running of the business much smoother.

Personalized Gift Cards

Business owners can utilize their ID card printers to make personalized gift cards. These cards are a clever marketing tool for any business because they inevitably guarantee that the gift card will be spent on a product provided by that company or business. As well as providing these cards as gift ideas, they are often sent to appease disgruntled customers if they have a particular complaint about a service or product.

Cashless Payment

Some financial experts predict that we will have an entire cashless system in years to come thanks to technology being at the stage that it’s at. Already, the majority or schools and colleges use these cards by loading them up with the appropriate amount of money each week in order to cover the cost of school meals. They are also commonly used on public transport, parking meters, toll booths and super markets. They have helped organizations to run more effectively and have made life far more convenient for people. It’s far easier to have a card swiped than to fish around in your pockets for the correct change.

Business Cards

Traditionally, a business card consisted of a rectangular shaped piece of card with the company details such as the telephone number and opening hours. More often than not, these cards would become dog eared or torn as a result of constantly taking them out of a wallet and replacing them. Thanks to ID card printers, business cards can be professionally produced so that they are harder wearing and impressive looking. A decent business card will always have the advantage over a flimsy, mass produced card and may actually help to attract more new business and contacts.

So the next time anyone asks what are id cards used for you’ll be able to set them straight with the above discussed many ways you can utilize an ID card program. Most people have several plastic cards in their wallet these days because it’s the norm. ID cards offer safety, security and convenience and because they’re laminated, they can last for many years.

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