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Traditional vs. Digital ID Badges: Which to Choose?

Traditional vs. Digital ID Badges: Which to Choose?

Traditional printed IDs have long served as a trusted go-to, but their digital counterparts also provide numerous benefits. In this post, we’ll explore the following:

  • The best use cases for both traditional and digital IDs
  • The advantages and drawbacks of traditional and digital IDs
  • How to get custom ID badges online

So, if you’ve ever wondered, “Where can I get an ID made?” you’re in the right spot.

Traditional ID Badges

Traditional IDs are physical, hand-held badges that your employees or staff swipe or tap into a place of business or an entry point. These standard cards display an employee’s full name, photograph, job title and sometimes a scannable code. There are also RFID badges, which are keyfobs or thick cards with scannable radio-frequency identification technology.

Employees keep either variation in a wallet or an ID badge holder worn on a lanyard around the neck, clipped to a garment or attached to a keychain.

Benefits of Traditional ID Badges

  • Tangible Identification. A physical ID attached to your body provides visible proof of who you are and works even if your digital device has a drained battery.
  • Help People Get To Know Each Other. ID badges double as name tags, and branded ID badges foster a sense of community. Worn daily, they help people get to know each other better in small and large settings.
  • Simple To Use. Traditional ID badges don’t require specialized, high-cost technology. Staff or security can quickly inspect and verify them.
  • Low Cost. Creating custom ID badges has an affordable up-front cost. This makes it an accessible option for small businesses, start-ups, public schools and nonprofits with budget constraints.
  • Easy To Make. You can easily create ID badges online or even purchase the supplies to print your own on demand. Check out our simple guide on how to make ID badges, and peruse our assortment of custom ID badges online.

Potential Drawbacks of Traditional ID Badges

The biggest potential drawback of a traditional ID badge is the possibility of losing it. In this case, the person who’s lost their badge must follow protocol to obtain a new one. Further, security concerns arise in situations involving a lost, stolen or duplicated badge.

Further, if you care about tracking your employee’s whereabouts — or when scanning into or out of your place of employment — then a non-scannable ID badge isn’t the best choice for your business. In this case, we recommend an RFID product or a digital badge.

Digital ID Badges

A digital ID badge remains on a digital device — most often a smartphone or tablet. When entering a place of employment or organization, the employee simply holds their digital ID up to the scanning device, allowing them entry.

Benefits of Digital ID Badges

  • Accurate Tracking. Some companies and organizations want to know when their staff enter and exit a building. This is beneficial when employees are required on-site daily or for a certain number of days per week, which has become more common with flex and hybrid work cultures. A digital ID tracks this information in great detail.
  • Convenient. Since almost everyone carries a digital device on them at all times, there’s a lower risk of forgetting your ID at home or losing it.
  • High Security. Digital devices often have one or more layers of additional security, such as face ID or password entry. Companies that prioritize even higher levels of security can implement protocols like encryption and tamper resistance. These measures make counterfeiting an employee’s ID more difficult.

Potential Drawbacks of Digital ID Badges

While digital IDs provide many benefits to an organization or business, there are compromises. One of the most notable is startup cost and effort. Digital ID technology requires installing digital infrastructure for at least one point of entry into the business. If company grounds require numerous entry or access points, cost and effort increase.

Another issue is that not everyone can afford a digital device, and some choose not to carry one for personal reasons. This presents a sensitive obstacle your company must navigate and may require providing employees and staff with digital devices. Similarly, if a smart device ends up stolen or lost, it may take some time to recover it or purchase a new one.

Also, while digital IDs are generally considered secure, they are not foolproof. Certain industries or establishments require the installation of additional security layers.

Finally, with the loss of traditional IDs worn by employees, companies forfeit that sense of a collaborative environment. When staff members can put a name to a face, it improves morale and fosters a greater sense of community.

The Bottom Line on Traditional Vs. Digital ID Badges

Ultimately, the decision depends on what your company or organization seeks regarding convenience, security, cost and scalability. There’s no wrong answer. Take time to carefully review the benefits and drawbacks of each ID badge type and then make a decision with your leadership team from there.

HR Guide to badges download 
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