A Plastic Card is a rectangular-shaped piece of plastic with rounded corners measuring 85,60mm by 53,98mm (3.375″ by 2.125″). The physical characteristics of a Plastic Cards are standardized and defined by the ISO/IEC 7810:2003 specifications.
A standard Plastic Card have rounded corners with a radius of 2.88–3.48 mm and a thickness of 0,76mm (0.030 in). Plastic cards fully compliant with the ISO/IEC specifications are often called “ID-1 Cards” or “CR80 Cards”.
The body of a Plastic Card is usually a multi-layer of individual plastic foils that are fused together by means of pressure and temperature. Standard Plastic Cards are made of 3 to 5 layers while more complex cards, such as ID Cards with advanced security features can have up to 10/12 layers.
Some of the most common materials used for the production of Plastic Cards includes:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC, PVCA)
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PETG, PETE, PET)
- Poly Lactic Acid or Polylactic Acid or Polylactide (PLA Corn cards)
- Recycled ABS
- Recycled PVC
- Eco PET
- LUC-BIO (trademark of Gallazzi S.p.A.) is PVC range that will degrade within 39 months of its introduction to the environment.
- Kamicard (trademark of Toppan Printing Co., Ltd – Japan) is a paper based material made for 95,5% of Cellulose, 2% of Talc, 0,35% of Zinc Chloride and 0,001% of Sodium Chloride.
- Composite materials such as mix of PVC and Polyester
Plastic Cards are commonly used for literally hundreds different applications and most of them fall within this main categories:
- Financial Cards (Debit cards, Credit Cards, ATM Cards, Cash Cards, etc.)
- Identification Cards (National ID Cards, Citizen Health ID Cards, Employee ID Cards)
- Driving License Cards
- Transit Payment Cards
- GSM SIM Cards
- Payphone Cards
- Voucher Cards
- Access Control Cards
- Loyalty & Membership Cards
- Business Cards
- Tachograph Cards
- PKI Cards
Some applications requires a smaller form factor than the standard ID-1 that is achieved by punching (pre-cut) the cards with a custom made hollow punch. For instance, the common GSM Sim Cards are produced pre-cutting a ID-1 card.
Other custom shaped cards, MasterCard mc2, comply with ID-1 width and height but feature a large rounded edge.