The new IDP Smart-BIT Ribbon Shredder – is it worth the price tag?

At around £500, is shelling out on a dedicated shredder for your plastic card ribbons really necessary?

The answer depends entirely on how important security is to your organisation.

The IDP Smart-BIT is the industry’s first dedicated shredder for plastic card printer ribbons and has been developed in response to the need for stricter data policing, and largely in response to the new GDPR data requirements.

This innovative shredder uses a unique twist and cut motion to slice your used printer ribbon up into confetti-like particles, obliterating any personal information. Which makes it a highly effective weapon in the fight to secure personal data, and stop it falling into the wrong hands.

Printer Ribbon Shredder

It fits neatly on an office desk and can take all brands of printer ribbons.

Why do you need to securely shred your plastic card printer ribbon anyway?

If you’re asking this question, you’re probably unaware of the amount of personal data left behind on your card printer ribbon after you’ve used it.

Card Printer Ribbon Sensitive dataIf you’re printing staff ID cards or visitor cards for example, the imprint of each individual (photo, name & any other printed information) remains on the ribbon after it’s been used. It just spools forward, leaving room for the next one.

Which means if you currently discard the ribbon with the rest of your office waste, anyone could pick it up and retrieve all the information of your card holders. Which puts you immediately in breach of your GDPR responsibilities.

You wouldn’t let any sensitive paper documents out of your building without shredding them – so make sure you treat your printer ribbons in the same way.

Are there any other alternatives to the IDP Smart-BIT?

There is no doubt that the Smart-BIT is a really smart way to protect your personal data, particularly if you’re printing high numbers of plastic cards.

Watch the Video of the IDP Smart-BIT in action.

But if you haven’t got a spare £500 rolling around in your budget, there are alternatives.

Consider the HID Fargo DTC1500 ID Card Printer

HID Fargo plastic card printer gdpr compliant

If you’re looking to upgrade your plastic card printer or are looking to buy one for the first time, you should look at the HID Fargo DTC1500.

As well as being a powerful and reliable card printer from one of the best-known names in the market, the DTC1500 comes with a ribbon scramble feature built-in.

Rather than shredding the printer ribbon, it adds an additional layer of security by hiding any printed information within a resin panel, making it completely unreadable.

It retails at around £1000, making it a good investment.

Or just look for a supplier that provides secure ribbon shredding.

Many companies that supply new plastic card printer ribbons will also securely shred your old one for you, either for a small cost or in exchange for you buying a new one.

Find out more about our Ribbon Shredding Service.

Stocks of the IDP Smart-BIT are expected by the end of October 2018. To pre-order yours, call 01244 526009 or email

Training certificate cards get a make-over

We’re never surprised by the uses our customers find for printed plastic cards. It’s one of the reasons we love what we do. We can be printing a handful of ID cards for a charity in one hour and event invites with a scratch panel and QR code the next.

We’ve recently had a number of training companies come to us for plastic training certificate cards. Rather than giving people who have passed their training a piece of paper that sits in a drawer somewhere, they are choosing handy wallet-sized certificates instead.

The benefits of plastic training certificate cards 

Handing someone who has successfully completed a qualification or training a plastic card has a lot more value than a photocopied piece of paper. For one, it’s something the recipient can keep in their wallet and show off with pride: it’s a symbol of their hard work.

It’s also an easy way for the bearer to prove their qualification at work (for example if they are on a different site) or in a job interview.

By including a signature strip on the card, you can write the Learner’s name, or ask them to sign it as confirmation.

Training certificate cards can also act as a reminder of the modules studied or credits achieved, or contain key information on the reverse. You could also include all of the training company’s details, or list more relevant courses.

250 custom printed, double sided plastic cards start from just £123.00.

Our New Year’s resolutions

New Year's resolution
Must visit client’s establishment more often

Get fit, drink less, eat healthier, etc. etc. All that goes without saying.

(So far we’re doing well at number two on that list. Not so brilliant at the others, but we’re working on it.)

Anyway, here are the New Year’s resolutions on our whiteboard for 2014:

 1. Launch some new products.

We plan to introduce a number of new products this year. We got our new membership/loyalty cards with snap-off key tags out there in December. Look out for custom printed Desfire cards, hardware offers and more in the next few months.

2. Give our clients more flexibility.

More and more of our clients want us to handle mailing and fulfilment and customise delivery (letters, leaflets etc.). We’re also working on giving more flexibility with regards to top-ups and part orders, to make it easier and cheaper for you to make small runs when the large order is completed.

3. Visit more of our client’s establishments.

Good one this, because our client list includes some rather lovely restaurants, bars and venues. Top of the list for a bite to eat would have to be The Grand Café Villandry or The Cumberland in London or Tiger Lily in Edinburgh. Of course it’ll blow the ‘eat healthier’ resolution, but we don’t expect that to survive past February anyway.

After lunch, we might engage in a spot of culture with a visit to The British Library (checking our coats in again) and then head over for The View from The Shard. Then down to Goodwood for a spot of racing.

We can more than happily fill up the year this way.

4. Be in touch a bit more.

Let’s not just swap Christmas cards.

That doesn’t mean we’ll bombard you with emails. Far from it. But we do want to let you know what we’re up to from time-to-time, and make you aware of new products. It’s a two-way street: we also want to know what we can do to make your life easier.

5. Start making art from our card over-runs.

Suggestions so far include jewellery, mobiles and abstract sculpture type stuff. We don’t expect to be winning any art awards any time soon, but it’ll brighten up the office.

So those are our New Year’s resolutions. What about yours?

Are your new members falling off the treadmill already?

Gym membership card
Club cards incentivise members

January always brings a sudden rush of new members into the gym or leisure club. The desire to get rid of the post-Christmas tummy has them literally running to sign-up.

But as the weeks go by, interest starts to wane, as do appearances at the gym. If they’ve signed up on a month-by-month basis, you could have lost them as a customer by March. Giving them club cards can go a long way to keeping them motivated and regular visitors.

The benefits of club cards

Club cards or membership cards are a great way to keep your customers active and engaged. By presenting them with a club card, you’re making them feel part of an inclusive community, and it serves as a constant reminder every time they open their wallet. But club cards can be much more than just a reminder.

Reward or discounts

Club cards can double up as reward or discount cards, and encourage members to spend in your café or shop for example. On its simplest level, a member hands over their club card to get money off their lunch after working out.

Taken to the next level, the club cards can also act as a loyalty cards, and give rewards for multiple visits or multiple purchases. The reward could be anything from a complimentary meal, discounts or free gym classes or equipment.

Forming partnerships with other local businesses is another great way to provide incentives to your members. Agree a reciprocal deal with a local organisation that’s relevant to your members – like a golf club or spa – and you have another means of rewarding loyalty that’s highly cost-effective.

Motivating regular visits

By turning your club card or membership card into a loyalty card and investing in the right technology, you can also track member activity. When you notice the visits starting to tail off, you can take action to engage them before they’ve completely lost interest. Ask them in for a new consultation or fitness session. Make them aware of your classes and other activities.

By investing in club cards for your members now, you can keep them active, keep them regular visitors and look after your bottom line.

Our membership card packs start from £121.13 for 250 full colour, double sided & numbered cards, printed to your own design. We’ll be happy to advise you on what your club cards can do, just ask one of our friendly team.

Now stocking Paxton access control readers

Paxton access control products have always been some of our most popular items at The Card Network. We sell more Paxton Net2 Keyfobs than any other kind of proximity card, smart card or token.

When customers began asking us if we could supply Paxton access control readers as well as the cards and keyfobs, we were more than happy to oblige.

Paxton net2 access control reader
Paxton access control readers: reliable and easy to use

Buy your genuine Paxton access control cards and Paxton access control readers together in one place

In response to popular demand, we now stock official Paxton access control readers, for systems including Net2, Switch2 and standalone Compact.

It means you can now buy everything you need for your system in one place, at one great, low price.

And you won’t have to pay two delivery charges either.

One of the joys of Paxton is their simplicity, and the fact that you can buy them off-the-shelf without the need for individual programming, like other access control products.

Search our range of Paxton access control readers and products. If you can’t see the reader or hardware you’re looking for, get in touch. We can usually source it for you at a very competitive price.

Please note that readers and other hardware should be fitted by a qualified person in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions. We are unable to provide technical assistance for installation. For more information see Paxton

Now in stock! Fluorescent plastic cards

We’ve just added a new range of fluorescent plastic cards onto our shelves (and we certainly can’t miss them…) made by Fotodek, known for the quality and durability of their plastic cards.

Fluorescent plastic cards
Brighten up your next promotion with fluorescent cards

Time to brighten up your next promotion?
If you print your own plastic cards and really want your next promotion to stand out, these fluorescent plastic cards will do it for you.

They’re perfect for Freshers week for example – if you want to attract new students at the start of term, producing fluorescent promotional cards will definitely grab their attention. They won’t exactly be missed in their wallet when Fresher’s Fair is over, either!

Draw attention to health and safety information

Some of our clients are using the fluorescent plastic cards to print important company or health and safety information to give to their workers, particularly those who work between different plants or use manual machinery.

Immediately spot children when you’re out on a trip

If you’re organising a weekend summer camp or a holiday club day out for a group of children, using the fluorescent cards as ID cards means they’ll be easier to spot and gather together.

All the fluorescent plastic cards are standard credit card thickness. And because they’re made by Fotodek, you can be sure you’re getting a high quality product.

They’re available in fluorescent green, yellow, pink and orange – with a gloss shine, starting from £24 for a pack of 100. Search our range of blank cards here

Plastic business cards: multiple names, one run

Plastic business cards are a great way to stand out. Especially in a sea of paper cards that are often fraying at the edges.

Plastic business card
Why not have a business card for everyone in your organisation?

They make a statement. They say you’re a bit different. Add some extra touches like metallic print or a QR code that links directly to your website and suddenly you’re in a different league.

Most importantly, plastic business cards are far more likely to be kept in someone’s wallet than paper ones.

But they’re more expensive. Aren’t they?

Here’s where the cost savings come in

Runs of paper business cards are inexpensive. But in almost every case, you have to pay for each name you want on a business card, because it entails a new set-up at the printers. So if you have 20 employees, the printing costs suddenly multiply x 20.

The difference with our plastic business cards is you can have as many names as you like.

So you might take our 500 business card pack and ask for 10 names to be printed, so each employee receives 50 cards each. We only make a small extra charge for this flexibility – in this case £20.

You could even have a different name on every single card.

How about a name badge for every employee in the company?

If you have 1000 employees, take our 1000 business card pack, send us your information and we’ll print a different card for everyone. Perfect for a big event you’ve got coming up or for people to just to have in the drawer for the next one.  

250 full colour, double sided plastic business cards start from just £112.70.

If you’d like any further information, please get in touch.

Why holiday parks should use key tags

You know those little key tags that Tesco gave you with your club card – the one you put on your key ring so you wouldn’t forget to use it? Handy things, aren’t they? They’re great for making sure you always use your loyalty card, but they can also do much more – particularly for accommodation providers and holiday parks.

A mini billboard for your latest advertising campaign

If you run a self-catering complex or a holiday or caravan park, printed plastic key tags are an ideal way to get a targeted message to your customers. So instead of handing over just a set of keys to their cottage, cabin or caravan, include a branded key tag. Promote your restaurant, a specific offer or a particular activity on-site, or advertise a sister development or partner.

You could also use key tags to remind holiday makers of handy information, like restaurant or pool opening times, or health and safety information relating to the park.

Raise awareness of holiday homes

Holiday park key tag
Advertise your holiday home offer or promotion on quality key tags

If you also have holiday homes available on the park, let people know about these too. You’ve already got a captive audience, one who may not be aware of this particular opportunity, so spread the word.

One Holiday Park who has recently seen the potential of this is Rookley Country Park on the Isle of Wight, who has printed some key tags advertising their holiday home offer.

Our key tags start from just £96.39 for 250 double sided & full colour plastic cards, including design and artwork.

Is your wallet getting bigger?

How many printed plastic cards do you carry around with you? 

printed plastic cards
How many printed plastic cards are in your wallet?

There was a time (not that long ago either) when you had one bank card and one credit card in your wallet, and that was about it. Now, your purse is likely to be full of  branded printed plastic cards. Have a look – we bet you’ve got more than you think.

Having done a quick strawpoll here, we think the average is between 12-14 cards.

As well as your debit and credit cards, you’ll probably have your driving licence, a few loyalty cards, a swipe card for work, club cards for your sports or leisure club, membership cards for any other clubs you’re part of, a couple of discount or promotional cards, a business card, a travel card and maybe even a library card. One of us even had a plastic card book token.

Oh, and don’t forget to count any keytags you’ve got on your key chain.

Which means that your clever wallet can now take out money, get a discount, gain entry to a building, check out books, get you on public transport, rack up points and even get you a free coffee.

So come on, own up – how many printed plastic cards do you have?

And if you could have one more, what would it be?

No Player photo ID card? No play

Cricket ball
Player photo ID cards are being increasingly used for matches and tournaments

Has your sports league adopted player photo ID cards?

More and more sports clubs are adopting a photo ID card policy, where players have to prove their identity before they can play in a match or game. Cricket leagues and tennis leagues are seeing the benefits, but the scheme is proving to be particularly popular in youth football and rugby leagues, as a means of quickly proving age and eligibility.

Players have to fill out a registration form with their own club before the season starts, then the club prints the photo ID cards that must be produced for inspection if asked. In most cases it’s the Referees or Captains from opposing teams who check names and photos before matches. Many leagues adopt a ‘no player ID card, no play’ policy.

Would it work for your club or league?

Photo ID cards make it difficult for people to fake their identity, or for teams to suddenly substitute a star player at the last minute. For youth teams, they’re also great for security, and provide peace of mind to parents and organisers. They really come into their own during cup tournaments and regional competitions.

Printing cards costs less than you think

Printing photo ID cards is less expensive than you might think. There are two ways of doing this: 1. Invest in your own card printer to run out photo ID cards whenever you need to, or 2. Send all the details to a plastic card company and have them print them for you.

There are advantages to both routes. Although a plastic card printer is a significant cost up-front (our printer packages start from £637.00 for the budget user), you can run cards out whenever you need to. You can also double up its use to print membership or club cards, or even discount cards if you have an on-site shop or leisure facilities.

If you do choose to have them printed by a plastic card printer, make sure you choose one where you can ‘bank’ any unused cards for later use. With our card bank facility, you can ‘draw down’ on the balance whenever you need new cards printed, for no extra cost other than the postage. This way, you won’t incur a new cost every time a new member joins the squad. 100 cards with our card bank option start from £222.81.

Browse our photo ID cards