Identification Technology Blog

PVC vs. Composite Cards

by Nam Huynh | Jul 27, 2018
ISO Composite Proximity Cards

When choosing card stock for your ID card printer, you'll come across two types of plastic ID cards — PVC and composite.

Cards made of PVC — which stands for poly-vinyl chloride — is the standard card stock material and works well for most ID card printing jobs. In most cases, if you are using just a dye sublimation (direct-to-card) ID card printer with no laminating, you can use a standard PVC card.

However PVC does not stand up well to heat of 280ºF or above — temperatures of which can be reached with the extra heat from laminating or retransfer card printing. Warping, the slight bending or cracking of the card, may occur with standard PVC cards in these cases. Composite PVC-PET cards contain polyester material (usually up to 60%) and can withstand higher temperatures, preventing the risk of warping. Because of this, composite cards are highly recommended for laminating cards and for retransfer printing.