Datacard Group

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Datacard Group
Industry Manufacturing and Service
Founded 1969
Founder Willis K. Drake
Headquarters Shakopee, Minnesota, US
Area served
Key people
Todd Wilkinson (CEO)[3]
Products High-volume card issuance systems and software, card printers and encoders, identification software, passport systems
Number of employees
2,000+ (2014)[4]

Datacard Group — which became Entrust Datacard shortly after acquiring Entrust in December 2013[5][6][7] — provides financial institutions, national governments, corporate enterprises and other organizations with technologies they need to establish trusted identities and conduct highly secure transactions.[8][9] Examples of the company’s diverse offerings include software and hardware used to issue financial cards, produce e-passports and authenticate users looking to access secure networks or conduct financial transactions.[8][10] The privately held company is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and employs more than 2,000 people in 120 countries.[6][8]

Company history[edit]

The company was established in 1969[11] as DataCard Corporation, also known as Datacard Group, and immediately focused on the needs of the underserved financial card market. Company founder Willis K. Drake led a team of engineers that invented machines that enabled highly secure and highly productive personalization of credit cards.[12][13] Datacard Group’s high-volume card issuance systems allowed banks and retailers to personalize 1,500 cards per hour with great precision and security. Until the company launched its technologies, the process was slow and riddled with quality problems.[14][15]

As adoption of financial cards accelerated, the company formed highly collaborative relationships with MasterCard®, Visa®, American Express® and virtually all of the large national banks in the United States.[15] Technical experts from all of the organizations worked together to establish standards that ensure security and interoperability across virtually all payment platforms. Those collaborative relationships expanded over the years and continue today.[15][16][non-primary source needed]

Under new ownership in the early 1990s, the company believed they could refine their core technologies and expand into a variety of additional markets including the government and enterprise markets. Shortly after the new owners purchased the company and took it private, development efforts were re-energized and core technologies quickly expanded beyond basic simple card embossing and magnetic stripe encoding. New inline card personalization technologies included color printing that rivaled lithographic output and encoding of both contact and contactless smart cards.[17][non-primary source needed][16]

Development efforts led to multiple new offerings, including the world’s first digital photo ID card system and desktop card printer in 1994. Until the launch of this new technology, governments, corporations and other security-minded enterprises primarily used cut-and-paste processes that involved laminating color photographs and paper identification cards. The digital systems brought new levels of security and economy to the identification process.[18]

Through the 1990s and early 2000s, Datacard Group steadily grew revenues by introducing solutions for issuing highly secure government credentials, such as driver’s licenses, national IDs, traditional passports and e-passports (which elevated document security by incorporating biometrics, laser engraving, digital imaging, data encryption and other technologies). Significant revenue gains were also driven by continued leadership in the financial card market. Through the 1990s, 2000s and today, a vast majority of the world's credit, debit and prepaid cards are personalized using Datacard® high-volume and desktop issuance systems.[17][18][19][non-primary source needed]

In November 2014, the company officially launched a new brand and changed the legal entity name to Entrust Datacard.[20]


Datacard’s portfolio includes the world’s best-selling brands of high-volume central card issuance systems and distributed issuance solutions, including desktop printers, software and supplies.[8] Other hardware products including high-value systems for issuing passports and creating customized mail packages for cards and other personalized credentials.[15] Software offerings include highly regarded products for issuing and managing financial cards, EMV smart cards, ID cards, passports, national IDs, student IDs and other credentials. In fact the company’s software is considered a standard for most financial card operations and high-assurance government ID programs.[21][22]

A rapidly growing portion of the company’s portfolio is focused on instant issuance of credit, debit and prepaid cards. Banks, retailers, credit unions and other organizations issuing cards used for financial transactions are rapidly deploying systems used to issue cards on-demand in branch or store locations.[23] These instant issuance systems are often used for issuing emergency replacements when cards are lost, stolen or compromised by breaches. Most often, they complement centralized operations that focus on mass issuance aspects of a card program.[18][24]

The company also derives strong revenues from supplies and service. Supply offerings include overlays embedded with a variety of advanced technologies, including optical variable devices (OVDs), holographic images and various advanced materials that improve both the security and longevity of cards, passport booklets and other credentials.[25][26] The company’s service organization supports customers in 150 countries with a portfolio of both consultative professional services and technical support, which is available online, on-call or onsite.[27] Service experts are often located onsite at large customer installations and develop highly collaborative relationships with in-house operations teams.[28][non-primary source needed]

After the 2013 acquisition of Entrust, the company’s portfolio expanded to include Entrust software authentication platforms that strengthen security in a wide range of identity and transaction ecosystems.[8][22]


The Entrust transaction in December 2013 represents the largest acquisition in the company’s history. While a majority of the company’s financial and portfolio growth has been organic, there have been several acquisitions in the company’s 46-year history.[29]

In 2001, Datacard Group acquired P7, the smart card technology arm of NatWest Bank, which is now a part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The acquisition accelerated the company’s smart card development efforts and helped form a number of offerings, including today’s EMV issuance solutions.[30] In 2010, the company also acquired Dynamic Card Systems (DCS) of Denver, Colorado. In addition to experienced engineering and sales teams, the DCS acquisition included the banking market’s best-selling instant card issuance software, CardWizard® which is used by thousands of banks worldwide to issue Visa® and MasterCard® branded credit and debit cards on-demand in branch locations.[31] Other acquisitions in recent years have expanded the company's core capabilities surrounding trusted identity and secure transactions.

Senior leadership[edit]

Todd Wilkinson has served as Datacard Group (and now Entrust Datacard) president and CEO since June 2008. Previously, he had been the company’s CFO for nearly three years and had worked in a number of executive positions at General Electric.[32] Kurt Ishaug serves as the company’s CFO and Lisa Tibbits serves as general counsel.[33][non-primary source needed]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Company Profile, Datacard Group
  2. ^ "Company Profile". Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Wyant, Carissa (June 26, 2008). "Datacard names new CEO". Business Journal. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Business Wire". November 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Business Wire". December 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "StarTribune". December 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Security Document World". April 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Company Website". Entrust Datacard. November 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Secure ID News". November 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Security Info Watch". February 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Company Website, Profile page". Entrust Datacard Corporate. 2014. 
  12. ^ "Roots in Innovation". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  13. ^ Ross, James (3 February 1983). "An Interview with Willis K. Drake, OH 46" (PDF). University of Minnesota. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. ^ "CR80 News". New Datacard Group printer add-on allows for expanded card printing options. 17 September 2007. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ^ a b c d "Commerce Transformed". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  16. ^ a b "Trusted Partner". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ a b "Inline modularity". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. ^ a b c "Instant Card Issuance". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ "Leading the way". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. ^ "Business Wire". Retrieved November 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  21. ^ "Market News". Datacard Group Named Leader in ABI Research’s “Government and Healthcare ID: Smart Card and Legacy Credentials” Competitive Assessment. 4 August 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "InformationWeek". Entrust Datacard Bridges Digital Identity From Physical to Mobile. 11 November 2014. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  23. ^ "". "Trusted Identity" – On Demand. 17 February 2015. 
  24. ^ "InformationWeek". Instant Issuance: A Game-Changer for Banks. 11 April 2013. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  25. ^ "Security Document World". Entrust Datacard adds DuraShield overlay to secure product line. 20 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "CR80 News". Holograms on campus cards. 20 February 2015. 
  27. ^ "Business Wire". Datacard Group Expands its SD Series Desktop Card Printing Platform. 3 November 2014. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  28. ^ "Company Site — Global Services". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  29. ^ "Business Wire". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  30. ^ "Datacard buys Platform Seven". 26 March 2000. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  31. ^ "Business Wire". Datacard Group Acquires Dynamic Card Solutions and CardWizard® Software. 30 September 2010. Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. ^ Wyant, Carissa (June 26, 2008). "Datacard names new CEO". Retrieved March 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  33. ^ "Entrust Datacard Leadership". Nov 2014. Retrieved Mar 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)