Proud to still provide printed ID cards

As more ID card suppliers in the UK switch to offering card printers only, The Card Network continues to offer printed ID cards in quantities as small as 10.

Supporting small enterprises and charities

Printed plastic ID card
Our high quality ID cards start in packs of 10

Many of the people who buy our ID card packs are charities, who need small numbers of ID cards for their collectors or fundraisers. Our packs of 25 or 50 cards are also popular with smaller companies and primary schools that want to badge their staff.

Neither has the money to invest in costly card printers. Whereas larger organisations with a regular need for ID cards may benefit from a plastic card printer, the return on investment simply isn’t there for the smaller player. We don’t believe you should be penalised for your size, which is why we continue to offer small runs of ID cards.

Use only what you need and ‘bank’ the rest for later

All our ID card packs also come with our ‘card bank’. This means we only print the number of cards you need now, then save the rest until you need them. So if you only need 17 ID cards at the moment, buy the 25 card pack and you can call on the remaining 8 ID cards throughout the year. You can ‘call off’ the remaining cards as many times as you like – the only charge will be a new posting fee.

10 ID cards, clips & card holders start from just £93.09. We can also add signature panels or magnetic stripe for extra security from as little as £1 extra. Our prices also include design & artworking – simply send us your details and we’ll do the rest.

The Card Network is committed to supporting small enterprise. We supply our high quality, low cost ID cards to schools, colleges, healthcare organisations, charities and companies all over the country.


Will player ID cards end ‘playing down’?

If you have children playing in competitive youth sports teams, whether rugby, football or other ‘contact’ sports, you’ll want to know that everyone is playing by the same rules. Whether they’re playing in under 11, under 14 or under 17 teams, you’ll assume that your kids are playing others of the same age.

This isn’t always the case. Clubs still encounter overage players being allowed to ‘play down’ or teams being banded into age brands not allowed by the regulations, which simply isn’t fair play.

And for parents, it raises safety concerns of their child playing against team members much bigger or older than them.

Youth sports card
Safeguard your youth players with player ID cards

Player ID cards can make a big difference

The need to register players and play them in the correct age grade is essential to safeguarding and protecting young people, and introducing photo player ID cards go a long way to helping coaches achieve their duty of care. All players must have been registered with their club in order to be given player ID cards in the first place.

More and more clubs and leagues throughout the UK are now adopting a ‘no card, no play’ policy. This makes it very difficult for people to suddenly substitute an unregistered star player at the last minute, or for clubs to allow older children to compete in younger teams. Photo ID does away with the concern of ‘did the coach bring documentation for one individual, but play another’?

They also help keep your insurance valid

If you run youth teams, you should also be aware that players, officials and coaches are only covered by insurance when they comply with age regulations. Serious breaches can lead to insurance being withdrawn club-wide.

The most cost-effective way to print your own player ID cards is to invest in a card printer. Although this requires up-front investment, it will prove its worth over the seasons to come. Search our range of plastic card printers here.



Evolis Badgy plastic card printer – now in stock

We’ve just added the Evolis Badgy to our range of plastic card printers, because we think it’s one of the best printers around in its price bracket. That, and we kinda like its name.

Evolis card printer
An al-in-one solution perfect for small card runs

Who is it designed for?

The Evolis Badgy is aimed at users who want to print small to medium runs of photo ID cards and badges. The emphasis is on simplicity – the printer is so user-friendly that anyone can use it. It’s an all-in-one solution, so there’s no messing about with adding bits on, internal parts or complicated software. Set up is as easy as you would expect it to be.

If you need to be able to print your own photo ID cards for new starters throughout the year, or for contractors visiting your site on a daily basis, the Evolis Badgy is a great, cost-effective option.

Custom design your own cards

The Badgy comes with hundreds of free-to-download, easy-to-edit badge templates. Simply choose which one you want and customise it to your own requirements using the Office-Card software (add your logo, pictures etc.) All the templates are in Excel-format, so you can use them immediately.

The results are waterproof and tamper-proof quality cards.

What impressed us?

For such a small printer, we were impressed by the photo quality resolution and how quickly it prints. We also like the fact that there’s only one ribbon to replace, and it’s easy to do it. The package also comes with a stack of blank cards and ribbon so you really can just plug in and print.

It’s light and compact (and it looks cute), so it doesn’t take up a lot of desk space and is easily portable, making it ideal if you need to badge people at an event or conference.

What doesn’t it do?

It can’t manage large volumes and it doesn’t come with encoding technologies, though at this price we wouldn’t expect it to. If you need your cards to be ‘smarter’, you’ll need to look at an alternative, for example the Evolis Primacy printer which comes with the option of magnetic encoding.

We are currently offering the Evolis Badgy for the very competitive price of £585.38.

Already using an Evolis Badgy printer? We’d love to know what you think – please leave us a comment.

You can learn more at

Child ID cards: a new fixture at family festivals?

Family-friendly festivals are more popular than ever. From one-day music festivals like the Underage Festival in London to quirky weekend creativity spectaculars like the Just So Festival in Cheshire, our children are getting bitten by the festival bug early.

But as the festivals get bigger and more popular, the chances of parents becoming separated from their children increase.

Camping festival
Child ID cards help with lost children

Child ID cards are a great safety precaution for children and parents

If you’re organising a family friendly festival this year, what plans do you have in place to handle lost children? How will you reunite them with their parents quickly?

Providing children with their own festival ID card is a great way of capturing all necessary personal information into one place. Including a photograph makes the child feel important and grown up (so they’re more likely to wear it without complaint).

Include parents’ names and telephone numbers, plus any allergy, special needs or healthcare information on ID cards. All of this ensures that the child gets the best care and swift action if they are in an accident or become separated from their parents.

If you’re offering camping over the festival, the ID cards become even more useful. It’s easy to become separated in a busy campsite, particularly when there are lots of other children to play with.

Make sure they’re visible

The cards can be attached easily like a name badge, or worn around the neck on a lanyard for older children. In our experience, a lanyard makes children feel like they’re at a ‘real’ festival – another bonus.

But are they cost effective?

You can buy a reliable and powerful plastic card printer from just £585.38, which includes everything you need. Although it might seem like a large initial outlay, you’ll be able to use it again next year – or for other requirements.

Simply take a photograph on the day and print the ID cards onsite. Or to save time in the welcoming process, ask families to send the information to you in advance.

Just be aware of data protection laws when it comes to children – do not store any of the personal information, and ensure relevant staff have gone through CRB checks.

You could even make a small charge to parents for the service.

The ID cards also gives the children a great memento of the festival to take home with them. And for parents, an ID card that can be used again.

Looking for a family friendly festival near you this summer? The Independent lists the top six child-friendly festivals here.




Are you prepared for hotel conference season?

Hotel conference registration
Speed up registration and increase security at the same time

If you’ve got a large conference or exclusive event coming up, you’ll be immersed in planning. Branding, access and security are likely to be just some of your priorities. It might help to ask yourself the following:

–    Have you made the most of the branding opportunities?

–    How are you going to badge attendees and ensure a smooth ‘check-in’ process?

–    How will grant the people access to the right areas of the conference – and keep others out?

Branding and security work hand-in-hand

Consistency of branding makes a great impression. If you have a theme and a brand for the conference, you’ll probably have applied it across everything from the welcome programme to the exhibition stands and menus.

Have you considered your name badges?

One of the first touch points with your brand is at arrival. If you’ve gone to a huge effort to brand your conference, don’t miss your name badges out. Include your logo and other conference details onto a personalised plastic card which could them be attached to a custom designed lanyard.

Rather than a simple name badge, provide a photo ID card instead – this aids security and identification and helps with introductions and recognition between attendees.

You can either have ID cards printed ahead of the conference by asking attendees to send over photographs, or print them on the day with a plastic card printer.

Increase security through customised access control cards

Giving access control cards to your attendees is a great way of granting access to the conference (and making sure other hotel guests don’t wander in for example), whilst still allowing freedom of movement.

You can also program access control cards to grant access rights for specific areas; so everyone can access the main conference room, but only certain people can access the VIP area.

Access control cards can also:

–    Have promotional or reminder messages printed on them, with event details or function information on for example

–    Act as cashless vending cards or store spending information.

Also ensure that you have enough access control cards and hotel key cards in stock to meet the rush of guests and attendees: the best laid plans will go to the wall if the cupboards are bare.


How to choose the right plastic card printer

Thinking of investing in a plastic card printer? Need to print your own ID cards when new staff or students join your organisation, or want to be able to print your own membership cards during the year?

Whatever you need it for, ask yourself these key questions before you choose a system:

1. How many plastic cards will you need to print in a year?
2. How long do you need the plastic cards to last?
3. Do you need to be able to print on both sides or just one?
4. Will you be printing photo ID cards, and if so, how will they be used?
5. Will your cards need to work with your access control system?
6. Will you need to assign users different levels of security clearance?
7. How much personal information do you need to fit onto the cards?
8. Will you need to badge employees at several locations?
9. What level of security do you need the cards to have – if any?
10. Do you need the cards to act as loyalty cards?
When you have a clear idea of what you need your plastic card printer to do,
you can

Plastic card printer for medium volumes
A good plastic card printer is capable of printing various security features on your cards

weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of the different systems. Broadly speaking, you can split plastic card printers into those suitable for low, medium and high volume users. Some can only print single sided, others are capable of printing high volumes of double sided cards at speed. The capability is reflected in the prices, as you would expect.

Choose the system that can do the job you need it to do

If you’re looking for a photo ID system, your cards can do much more than just help with the identification of your employees. For example, ID cards can be encoded to restrict access to rooms, buildings or car parks. They can be used for controlling access to equipment such as computers or copiers. You can even use ID cards as employee loyalty cards or library cards for schools. They can be used for phone cards, for tracking time and attendance, or for regulating admission to sporting events, theme parks, resorts, clubs, and much more.

In order to exploit these capabilities, you’ll need a plastic card printer with built-in encoding capabilities, like the Evolis Zenius Expert Card printer that comes complete with the necessary software. This is a scalable solution that can develop as you need it to.

Security features explained

You can print your plastic cards utilising the following features:

Magnetic Stripes

Magnetic stripes can be encoded with information about access privileges, membership status and employment history. You can even load cash for vending machine use. Magnetic stripe data is updatable over time. Plastic card with magentic stripe

Bar Codes and Signature strips 

Bar codes and bar code readers can automate many processes. Bar code technology adds convenience and speed to point-of-sale and inventory management transactions. For even greater security, select a system that adds a digital signature to your card.

Custom Transparent Images

With certain plastic card printers, you can print a custom transparent image (logo, symbol or text) directly onto cards using the clear overlay panel of your print ribbon. Once printed, this image appears only when viewed at an angle or under ultraviolet lighting.

Oversized Cards

Some printers can print on cards that are larger than standard credit card size. Oversized cards can hold an oversized photograph and large graphics, making verification even easier.


Over-laminates bond to the surface of a card, protecting data from being altered. They also significantly extend the life of the card.

Holographic Over-laminates

An over-laminate containing a “generic” or stock holographic image protects a card from wear & tear, and discourages card tampering or forgery. Creating your organisation’s own custom holographic design ensures that your card is truly unique. Custom holograms are extremely difficult and cost-prohibitive for counterfeiters to recreate.

The answers to the original questions at the start of this article will help you determine how many of these features you need to incorporate onto your cards, if any.

Think ahead

Even if you only plan to use your ID cards for visual identification, think about the future. You may not have the need for a plastic card printer with encoding abilities right now, but you might next year, and you won’t want to invest in a new printer so soon.

If you’re looking to replace your current plastic card printer, there may be deals available to trade it in for a new one.

Browse our card printers



Blank plastic cards – what will you do with yours?

What could you create from the opportunity presented by blank plastic cards?

A handful of bespoke business cards? A card advertising your latest promotion or sales discount? A membership card for customers? Or a handy reminder card with contact telephone numbers on for staff?

If you’ve invested in a plastic card printer, the world of printed plastic cards is your oyster. Depending on the printer and the software you have, you could produce ID badges for your staff or cards for one-off promotional campaigns. Like creating a handful of cards with prize details to be given to lucky winners of a competition for example. Giving out plastic cards rather than paper vouchers has a much higher perceived value to your customers – and they are far more likely to be retained in their wallet for future use.

You don’t have to print on standard white plastic either. We have blank plastic cards in every colour you can think of – from cranberry to gold green metallic, which start from just £8.36 for 100. Or choose to be environmentally friendly with our ultra white cards made from biodegradable plastic. We also sell cards with magnetic stripes and signature panels. Search our range of blank plastic cards here.

Our cards are imaging grade PCV cards for high quality thermal and dye sublimation printing, and conform to ISO-7810 standards for dimensions and quality.

So, what will you use a blank plastic card for next?

It’s festival season. Access all areas?

It’s festival season and the sun is finally shining. Will this be the year sales of sun tan lotion outdo the sales of wellies? Probably not.

Whatever size of festival you’re running, there will be security and access issues to consider. Plastic event passes, ID cards and lanyards are all ways of making sure that the right people gain entry to the festival, and to the right areas.

Designing your own lanyard with the festival’s branding is a great way to promote the event in the first place as well as give ticket holders a means of displaying their pass at all times. We can provide 1000 high quality custom designed lanyards for just £364.00.

Plastic cards for events and festivals
High quality event passes

There’s nothing like the hype of receiving your lanyard and event pass through the post. As well as looking more professional, printing your event passes on plastic cards instead of paper means they are more durable and have a higher perceived value. It also reduces your risk of forgeries, especially if you provide numbered cards. Ask festival goers to provide their name and photographs in advance, and you can have bespoke ID cards waiting for them at the gate.

From a security point of view, you might want pre-printed staff lanyards for your workers or contractor lanyards. Some of our clients also design bespoke lanyards for different categories of ticket holders, e.g. an ‘access all areas’ colour and design or one specific to the campsite, for those who have paid for a tent pitch.

Print your own plastic cards

If security is one of your primary concerns, consider buying a plastic card printing system so that you can provide photographic ID badges on the day. The investment required upfront isn’t prohibitive, and you will easily recoup that investment. They’re quite small so are easily portable.  All you’ll need is a digital camera to take a photograph of the ticket holder. You can upload it onto your laptop and print out cards as and when people arrive. You can pick up a Magicard system from as little as £797.00, which allows you to print cards with security features including ISO magnetic strip encoding and the HoloKote anti-counterfeit watermark.

Make sure you have a stock of blank cards with you – again, you could use different colours of cards for different access privileges.