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Individual Card Ordering Features and Options

Individual Card Ordering Features and OptionsPhoto from Unsplash

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ICO Overview

Over the past few years, InstantCard has invested heavily in building out the technical capabilities of its ICO (Individual Card Ordering) service.  ICO is a unique cloud service which gives the employees, students, or members of a client organization the ability to order their own photo ID cards.  This blog will outline all the various options we make available to clients who may be interested in pushing the task of ID card or badge creation away from the responsibility of a central administrator, out to the individual.

Through implementation of the ICO process, a central service is relieved of, for example, acquiring, formatting, cropping, and uploading employee or member photos. They don’t have to print or mail the cards, and they can add additional customized services, enumerated below, to further facilitate ID card processing.  Not only does this smooth the workflow, and reduce costs, it is a highly scalable service able to meet high growth requirements of even the largest corporations.

In general, ICO is implemented as a snippet of code on a website, customized to the specific needs of each client and linked to the data required by the each client for the card being ordered.  Each implementation is customized with the following options:

Custom Templates

A core capability of the InstantCard service has always been the ability to customize the front and back of each card printed.  Each ID card template can include one or more of: logo, photo, variable data fields (name, title, ID numbers, expiration date, etc.), QR code, fixed text, etc.  The color scheme of each card is customized, and other features can include barcodes, magstripe, or NFC/RFID.

Slot Punch

Each card can be designated to have a slot punch, on either the short or long side, so it can be displayed easily on a lanyard or clip.


A core capability is for the individual to enter his home address, so the card ordered is sent directly to his/her home address.  This relieves the central service of a major part of the logistics challenge of card distribution.  Shipping options can include USPS first class mail, USPS priority mail, Fedex overnight, or Fedex 2-day delivery.


Orders can be configured to be sent out with one or more accessories, such as a lanyard, badge holder, badge reel, or magnetic clip, with each card.  Lanyards or badge reels can be single-color, or they can display the clients’ logo.   This avoids having to send out two different items to each employee, or alternatively expecting an employee to purchase his own accessories at the local office supply store.


Custom Letter

InstantCard offers the ability for each card ordered to be mailed out with a custom letter.  The letter contains the client’s text, with a welcome message or instructions for registering the card.  The letter can display the client’s logo, and be sent in standard or custom envelopes.


The url to which an employee goes to order a card can be on an InstantCard-hosted server, or on the corporation’s internal servers.  Hosting the code on internal servers may enhance security, as the page can be made available only to individuals authorized to access the portal.  InstantCard has made it very easy to add the service to your website, so the technical resources are very limited.  And we are always available to assist your team wherever required.

However, even when hosted on the InstantCard servers, the pages can be customized in terms of graphics and content, and security protocols can be implemented to ensure that only individuals with appropriate access rights can order a card.  This avoids any need to touch internal systems or get internal teams involved.

Fees and Charging

Some clients wish to offer the ICO service to their staff members as a service paid for by the company.  In that case, there is no charge to the individual when a card is ordered.  However, ICO offers the option of charging the individual a fee to process the order, which is paid online via credit card at the time of order.  The amount of that fee is set by the client, and may cover some or all of the costs of the service.  In fact, the fee may in some cases be superior to the cost of service, allowing the client to use the ID card ordering service for fund-raising purposes.

Fixed and Variable Data Fields

Each card template is set up with a number of data fields, as specified by the customer.  These data fields may be filled in by the individual when he orders the card, or they can be pre-set so that they cannot be changed.  For example, if one data field is an employee ID number, that should be pre-set so that an incorrect number is never printed.  Another example is an expiration date, which should be set based on pre-set criteria, rather than being left to the discretion of the individual.


Fixed graphic elements on the cards, and the associated color scheme, are typically hard-coded into the template.  However, additional graphic elements can be uploaded for each card.  A card template may be configured to, for example, require upload of both a photo (headshot) and a signature.

Clients have a broad set of graphics options for how the ICO page displays.  If any unusual customization is required which goes beyond the available options, InstantCard is always open to enhance the source code to support new features.


The ICO service is typically configured to ensure that only legitimate individuals are able to access the service.  This may entail the requirement that they click a link contained in an email invitation they have received.  Or it may entail the verification that they have come to the site from a specific website, domain, or page that prevents unauthorized access.

Card Order Review and Approval

If the client wishes to review and approve each card order, this is an option which can be configured for each unique ICO set up.  In this case, the individual places his/her order as usual.  But before the order is released for printing and mailing, it must be approved by an authorized person at the company.  This allows them to review the appropriateness of the photo submitted, or confirm whether or not the order is conformant to company policies.

QR Code

A QR code can be included in each template, with either fixed or variable information.  The QR codes can be configured to serve a number of different purposes, such as linking to a website, verifying employment status, encoding for check-in/check-out, etc.  The QR code can be printed on the front or on the back of the card.


InstantCard offers the option of printing a QR code configured as a VCard on each card ordered.  A VCard allows the immediate transfer of contact information (name, phone, email, address, etc.) to the phone which scans the QR code.  This is a great service for companies that want to facilitate connections that their employees make with third parties.  InstantCard also offers the ability to print the VCard on an NFC-enabled card, in which case a simple tap of the card to a phone allows the instant transfer of contact information into the recipient’s contacts data base.


These options demonstrate the wide range of services that InstantCard is able to offer its clients to facilitate card ordering by individuals.  If anyone is interested in seeing a live demo of how the service works, you may visit this page. Since each organization has its own specific needs and requirements, we encourage potential clients to contact us and to set up a meeting to discuss their specific situation, to ensure a perfect match between the service deployed and the customer’s requirements.

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