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What’s the Difference Between Foil Stamping and Embossing on Plastic Cards?

Embossed Plastic Credit CardsWe’ve all been there. You search online for a product and land on one website that looks fresh, modern and professional, and another that looks like it’s from 1991. If you’re like me, you’re drawn to the fresh, modern and professional website and will most likely dismiss the other company. Just like websites, a gift card, membership card, business card or loyalty card can have the same effect on a consumer. What are some ways you can convey that fresh, modern and professional look with plastic card printing? Foil stamping and embossing are two options that can add to the perceived value.

Embossed Plastic Cards

The most common embossed plastic card is the credit card. Your name, account number and expiration date are all typically embossed (raised print) on the card. A credit card is something you guard, you don’t want to lose and in the early days was a status symbol. Think American Express Gold Card. Due to this fact, consumers have a perceived value associated with credit cards and embossed cards.

Embossing can be used on other plastic cards, and you will commonly find it on membership cards, loyalty cards or promotional cards like those received in direct mail pieces from credit card companies, auto dealers and even AARP.

As a process, embossing plastic cards is the slowest process in plastic card printing and can add cost to a project. This is something to consider when ordering you plastic cards—does the perceived value outweigh the additional cost and processing time?

Foil Stamped Cards

Foil stamping is a great way to draw attention to your gift card, membership or loyalty card. Using a hot temperature process and metallic film, foil stamping produces a “shiny” design on your card. This is a great way to draw attention to your logo or add a creative, eye-catching design to your plastic card in a variety of colors. The foil stamp can be applied on a frosted or gloss-finish card.

One thing to take into consideration with this process is that over time and excessive use, the foil stamping can rub off. Options to extend the life of the foil stamping include integrating the use of a foil substrate or a lamination process.

We’d like to hear from you, do you feel embossing or foil stamping add to the perceived value of plastic cards?

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