Plastic card

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plastic cards usually serve as identity documents, thus providing authentication. In combination with other assets that complement the data stored on the card, like PIN numbers, they also serve authorization purposes, most often as bank cards for allowing their holders to do financial transactions. While early and simpler cards feature only hard-to-imitate integrated photographs, security holograms, guillochés, or a magnetic strip on which few bytes of personal data could be stored, smart cards, i.e. those equipped with an electronic chip (storage, or RFID), nowadays serve as high-security active electronic documents that allow their holder to qualify for driving cars (drivers license card), receive medical treatment (health insurance cards), do banking and more.


In their January 2020 report, the International Card Manufacturers Association's (ICMA) indicates a production increase to a record-high of 37.1 billion cards and $27 billion revenue in 2019.[1] Forecasts predicted market growth at a rate of 8.2% from 2021 to 2028, which was counteracted by losses through the Covid pandemic.[2] [3]


Plastic cards (standard size ID-1) come in various colors and finishings.[4] The laminated mixture of various dyes, paper and plastics (so far mainly PVC and PVCA) and the integration with electronics makes them hard to recycle.[5][6]






Apart from "regular", i.e. non-electronic cards, there is considerable overlap between "chip-enabled", "digital" and "smart" cards, mostly for historical reasons in the development of the current fully equipped smart cards.[8][9]


Non-electronic security features[edit]

Plastic cards may be printed with the following security-relevant features, some of them also containing personal information, others only serving as anti-forgery devices:[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Global Plastic Card Industry Grows to $27B". ICMA. 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2021-11-24.
  2. ^ a b "Plastic Cards Market – Global Industry Trends and Forecast to 2028". Data Bridge Market Research. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  3. ^ Rolfe, Alex (2021-02-02). "Global plastic cards market lose $3 billion amid COVID-19 disruption". Payments Cards & Mobile. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  4. ^ "Finishings for Plastic Cards like Hotstamp". All About Cards. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  5. ^ "Because You Asked: Are Gift Cards Recyclable?". Recyclebank. 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  6. ^ "What to do with old credit cards? A quick review". Thales Group. 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  7. ^ Instruments, Ecom. "RFID vs. NFC - What is the difference?". ECOM Instruments GmbH - Intrinsically Safe Mobile Devices. Retrieved 2021-11-24.
  8. ^ "New Chip-Enabled Credit and Debit Cards: What do They Mean for You? | Privacy Rights Clearinghouse".
  9. ^ "What You Need To Know About Chip-Enabled Cards". American Southwest Credit Union. 2020-04-10. Retrieved 2021-11-24.
  10. ^ "Smart-card security—security features". ruhlamat. Retrieved 2021-11-24.
  11. ^ Anti-counterfeiting technology guide (PDF). Alicante: EUIPO. 2021. ISBN 978-92-9156-288-6. OCLC 1246506532.