SP&T News

Improving smart card issuance

Proper identity validation management requires routine synchronization of pre-programmed data on a smart card’s electronics with the personal data printed on the outside of the card.

May 15, 2013  By Craig Sandness

To do this, organizations have typically first used a desktop card printer to add colour and text to a card’s exterior. After this step, the card was extracted from the printer’s output bin, and the pre-printed/pre-programmed ID number was transferred to the cardholder’s record in a computer database. This could be done either through manual entry or by tapping the card to an external desktop reader. In either case, the personalization process was a two-stage affair which increased the potential for keying errors. Too often, errors aren’t even discovered until the cardholder attempts to enter a facility and is denied access.

These problems have now been solved. Today’s inline smart card personalization solutions reduce the aforementioned tasks to a single step. As a result, users can simply submit a card into a desktop printer equipped with an internal smart card encoder, also known as a printer/encoder, and the card is seamlessly personalized, inside and out. All of the personal data in the employee record (which contains such elements as a photograph, name and ID number) is automatically updated in the database to include the unique card ID number that was pre-programmed into the contactless card (and typically pre-printed onto the card’s surface by the access card manufacturer or the organization’s system integrator).

The majority of major card printer manufacturers optionally build card readers/encoders into their machines, and they also offer card issuance software that is compatible with the integrated system. If an organization already owns a card printer, it can usually be upgraded with an encoder in the field to provide these inline personalization capabilities. By integrating readers/encoders into card printer hardware, organizations position themselves to leverage the benefits of smart card applications well into the future. When it comes time to maximize their smart cards’ functionality, they’ll already have the smart issuance piece in place. And they can take advantage of an inline personalization process that saves time so that issuers can focus on other tasks, increase card throughput, and effectively reduce errors that commonly occur with manual synchronization processes.

Craig Sandness is vice-president of product marketing for secure issuance with HID Global.


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