Plastic card personalisation is the technical process of marking private data, specific to a given card, onto the card surface. Personalisation is an important part of plastic card production and also is one of the means of protecting a card from unauthorised use.

NovaCard has its own personalisation department and carries out the personalisation of all types of cards, including to EMV-standard, by various methods. All processes are carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Visa and MasterCard international payment systems.

Practical experience in applying various methods of transmission and confidential information processing allows us to satisfy nearly all customer needs for the organisation of information exchange and to use the data for the personalisation of the customer’s cards.

The largest Russian banks trust us with the personalisation of their cards.

Types of personalisation

Graphic personalisation

  • Embossing

This is one of the most common ways of personalizing a plastic card, by means of mechanical relief-pressing of figures and letters. This method is used both for bank cards and for loyalty cards. Relief coloring (tipping) of the pressed-out characters is also possible. The standard colours are gold and silver.

  • Indent printing

This is a type of personalisation by means of pressing figures and letters into the card surface with black or white coloring. This method is also used for both bank cards and loyalty cards.

  • Ink-jet printing

This is a kind of personalisation which is visually similar to indent printing. However, the data is printed onto the card surface and introduces a raised feel. Ink-jet printing may be applied for placing letters, figures or a barcode onto the card surface and there are no limits to the range of printing colours which can be used.

  • Printing of individualised data

An individual’s card number, the owner’s name and other personal data can be added for visual identification of the plastic card. Additional imaging can include the owner’s photograph (coloured or black-and-white). This type of personalisation is most often seen on passes and badges, social and transport cards as well as on the cards of some banks. Individualised data printing can be carried out using various methods: offset printing, digital printing, bubble jet printing and laser engraving.

  • Laying a signature strip

    A sample of the cardholder’s signature may be regarded as an additional type of personalisation. To this effect a special layer is coated onto the card so that an inscription can be made on the card using a ball point pen. The strip, as a rule, is put on the reverse side of the card. This element is present on all bank cards as well as on some types of club and discount cards.

    • Barcode

    This is a widely-used method of plastic card personalisation. A barcode consists of a sequence of lines and spaces of different thickness, where the spaces are divided into groups that represent recognised characters. The most popular are EAN (EAN-8 consists of 8 figures, EAN-13 – 13 figures, UPC (UPC-A, UPC-E), Code39 and Code128 (UPC/EAN-128).

    • PIN-code with a scratch-strip

    This type provides for the printing of a unique secret number covered by an opaque coating (scratch-strip). The scratch-strip may be either plain or customised (carrying the company name, brand name .). This type of personalisation is generally used on cards for Internet access, and on top-up cards (prepaid cards for mobiles) and on prize cards etc.

    Electronic personalisation

    Electronic personalisation encodes private data within an information carrier which is part of the card.

    • Magnetic strip encoding

    The magnetic strip is an information carrier which is in widespread use. The main kinds are LoCo, MeCo and HiCo. The fundamental difference is the degree of protection from the effects of external magnetic fields: LoCo has low impunity, MeCo has a medium level of protection while HiCo is highly resistant. A standard magnetic strip has three tracks for recording, but all three are generally only used on bank cards, while often only one of the tracks is used on loyalty cards. Encoding of the magnetic strip involves recording information onto the magnetic strip.

    • Chip personaliszation (contact, contactless, or dual)

    In recent years a process of replacing magnetic strip cards with smart, EMV-standard, cards has been taking place. These plastic cards containing electronic chips (smart-cards) are very easy to use and can carry a wide range of applications. They also have a higher degree of protection against forgery. NovaCard carries out the personalisation of this type of card, including to EMV-standard, in accordance with the requirements of the Visa and MasterCard international payment systems.