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Badges and Employee Access Cards

Badges come in all shapes and sizes and for all kinds of uses. The most common use in most facilities today is for just access controls and that's it. Sometimes organizations will step out just a little further and leverage their badge for time and attendance, purchasing meals, or even logging into their computer.

The latest trend is to use the same employee badge used for access control to automate the process of tracking staff. And the best part - it's quick and easy, and it's secure and accurate.

Types of Badges

Today, badges are available in a number of formats including company-issued ID cards, state-issued ID cards, drivers licenses, RF and proximity cards, barcode swipe, magnetic swipe cards (these are commonly used as hotel cards and credit cards), iClass, HID, and other technology. It's enough to confuse anyone interested in automating any of their processes using badge technology. What you want is a system that is flexible that will allow staff to carry only one card or use whatever THEY want to identify themselves. Savance can help you create the ideal badge system for your staff and guests that will be ideal based on what your staff already carry, what kind of security system you have in place, what, if any, you provide to guests, and your overall objectives.


Proximity CardProximity Cards

These cards work off of a radio frequency signal sent by the transmitter. They come in different "bit" sizes, which basically tell you how many numbers can be programmed as the unique identifier on the card. When the card comes in the range of the card reader, the card reader detects the card and reads the badge ID from the card. Depending on the card and the reader determines the length at which the card can be read without making contact with the reader. This document covers how HID proximity cards work in more detail. Organizations can mix cards as long as they use the same technology. For example, some could carry the ProxCard II, some could carry the ISOProx, and come could carry the keyfobs, as long as the target badge reader was a promimity reader.


Different Badge Card Styles

ProxCard II

ProxCard II

The ProxCard II is also known as a clamshell card. The ID and picture can be printed directly on this card with an ID badge printer. This card has good range but the trade off is thickness. It's about the size of two credit cards thick. It's also one of the least expensive proximity cards making it one of the most popular.

ISO Prox Card


The ISOProx II is one of the thinnist proximity cards available. It's the same thickness as a credit card and also the same thickness as your state issued ID or a hotel key card. Their range is slightly less than the ProxCard II (clamshell) due to the fact that the card is smaller. The cards are more expensive than a clamshell, but are also popular due to the convenience to carry the thinner card.

ISO Prox Duo Card

ISOProx Duo

The ISOProx Duo is just like the ISOProx but adds a magnetic stripe. The ID and picture can be printed directly on this card with an ID badge printer or a 2x3 printed label.

ProxKey III Keyfob

ProxKey III Keyfob

These are cards that are built right into a keyfob. This is a great option for those who already carry a set of keys around and would prefer to put their badge on their key chain rather than carry around another card.

iClass Smart Prox Card


These cards were designed with security in mind. All transmission to and from the reader are encrypted offering protection against copying cards. In addition, cards can actually store data such as medical record number, last visit, and other data right on the card.

Magnetic Stripe Card

Magnetic Stripe

A magnetic stripe card is a plastic card that has a magnetic stripe on the back. You've probably used them already at a hotel and when using your credit card. They can be reprogrammed easily with a reader/writer or they can be purchased with pro-programmed numbers. These cards require a physical swipe with contact through a magnetic reader.

Tips for Printing on Badges

Label Printing Diagram

  1. Purchase Clamshell or ISOProx HID compatible cards.
  2. Order blank 2x3 weatherproof polyester (other paper options will work as well) Avery-style labels. You may obtain these from
  3. Directly print or create a PDF ready to print a label for each badge with desired employee information. You may also use Microsoft Word or other similar word processing program. Word and PDF Templates can be downloaded right from the website. If you purchase from, you may also use an online program called Maestro Label Designer, which they offer free with every purchase. You may also use a program available for direct purchase called Easy Card Creator recommended by one of our clients.
  4. Take the PDF on a flash drive to the local print shop such as Kinkos to get a professional, color laser-printed result.
  5. Place the labels on the cards as you assign them to the employees.