Cracking the Code: A Fool-Proof Guide to Plastic Cards size

A Fool-Proof Guide to Plastic Cards

Businesses always prioritize convenience. Their processes should be fast and efficient in every aspect. One way to achieve this goal is by using plastic cards.

Plastic cards are durable and portable. They are typically made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or other plastic compounds. Businesses can easily access many things with a single tap of these cards.

But are you aware that plastic cards come in various shapes, appearances, and sizes? You can customize the card depending on your preference as a business owner. You can also choose your design and dimensions easily.

Aside from functionality, your plastic card adds flare to your business. Finding the perfect card size will help you achieve the right aesthetics. This way, your business can make a mark in the market!

Stay calm if you need help with how big or small your plastic cards should be. We are here to crack the code of plastic card dimensions!


4 Common Types of Plastic Cards

Common Types of Plastic Cards

1. Smart Cards


Smart cards have two types, namely, contact and contactless. The contact type has an embedded microprocessor chip. As the name suggests, it requires a connection with a card reader for data transmission to happen.

On the other hand, contactless smart cards use RFID technology. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification.

What makes RFID cards unique are the RFID chip (hence its name) and antenna. These components allow contactless communication with RFID readers.

It utilizes radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transmit data. Additionally, it doesn’t have internal power but depends on passive RFID technology. Most of the time, these smart cards are applied for identification and access control purposes.


2. Payment Cards

Payment Cards

Payment cards can either be physical or virtual. These cards are digitally connected to the account or multiple accounts of the cardholder. These cards facilitate financial transactions.

Only banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions can issue a payment card. Often, they are used for purchasing, payments, and withdrawals, which can be done online and in physical locations.

There are four payment card types: credit, debit, ATM, and prepaid.

A credit card allows the holder to pay for goods and services in advance. You can use it as you wish as long as it doesn’t exceed the credit limit.

A debit card, on the other hand, is an electronic check. It acts as a money storage. Whenever you make a payment, it will automatically be deducted from your bank account. This card also lets you withdraw the cash that you deposited anytime.

An ATM card is similar to a debit card. You can deposit and withdraw cash from ATM cards. However, unlike debit cards, you cannot use them for purchasing.

The last type of payment card is the prepaid one. This card requires you to make a virtual account to deposit funds. It is exclusively used for phone cards, internet access, and gift cards.


3. Pre-printed Cards

Pre-printed Cards

Pre-printed cards are sometimes called “knock-out cards.” They already have a premade graphic that makes them less expensive. The only thing left for you to do is print your information/


4. Proximity Cards

Proximity Cards

Similar to RFID cards, proximity cards don’t need to be inserted into a reader to transmit data. They are durable and, therefore, low maintenance.


The qualities that let proximity cards stand out from RFID cards are:

  • Operational frequencies
  • Capability to read/write
  • Stored Information
  • Read range

Standard Plastic Card Sizes

Have you ever thought about why your cards fit in your wallet seamlessly? The main reason for that is because they follow a standard dimension. It allows you to carry your cards conveniently.


However, standard card dimensions are not only limited to one size. Here are a few typically used card sizes:


1. Credit Card Size

Credit Card Size

Credit card size is the most used in businesses. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued credit cards and other financial-related cards to have a uniform size.

This size is applied to debit, ATM, credit cards, driver’s licenses, national IDs, and gift cards. They are under the ID-1 category (ISO/IEC 7810) or CR80 size.

We have converted the standardized credit card size to different units of measure.


Unit of Measure Height Width Corner Radius Thickness
Inch (in) 2.125 Inch 3.37 Inch 0.125 Inch 0.0625 Inch
Centimeter (cm) 5.39 cm 8.56 cm 0.318 cm



0.159 cm
Millimeter (mm) 53.9 mm 85.6 mm 3.18 mm 1.599 mm
Pixels (72 DPI) 225 px 242.64 px 9 px 4.5 px
Pixels (300 DPI) 637.5 px 1011 px 37.5 px 18.75 px


2. CR79 Card Size

CR79 Card Size

As compared to CR80 cards, CR79 is smaller. Some manufacturers of RFID cards make use of this spec. They are usually made for access controls, employee cards, and ID cards.


Here is the CR79 card size in different units of measure:

  • Inch- 3.303″ x 2.051″
  • Centimeter- 8.39 cm x 5.1 cm
  • Millimeter- 83.9 mm x 51 mm


Custom Plastic Card Options


Customizing your plastic cards is like cracking the code to a treasure chest. You are given the chance to choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances. You can select a square-shaped card or an irregular one, depending on your preference.

Tailoring the size of your card will make you unique and stand out from the rest. By doing so, you determine your branding and enhance user experience.

However, don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that customization should go alongside your business’s needs.

We listed a few non-standard card options to give you an idea of what you can do.


1. Mini cards

If the standard card size is 3.37 in (8.56 cm)  x 2.125 in (5.39 cm), mini cards are much smaller than that. This dimension is often used for limited-spaced promotional materials, calling cards, or unique business cards.


2. Square Cards

Yep, you read it right, square cards. These cards flaunt a square shape. This is your best option if you feel adventurous with your plastic card. It adds personality to your business cards and promotional materials.


3. Irregular-Shaped Cards

Are you into geometry or organic shapes? Using irregular-shaped plastic cards would scream fun and personality. This quality will make people remember your business among the rest.

Just ensure your cards can be easily stored since it is quite challenging to fit irregularly shaped cards into wallet slots.


4. Oversized Cards

If there are mini cards, there are also big ones! Oversized plastic cards are perfect when your business is promoting a limited-time event. Aside from words, you can add fun graphics to attract users’ attention.


5. Key Tag-like Cards

If you want to add a twist to the standard plastic card dimension, key tag-like cards might be for you. They resemble key tags with a keyring hole except that they’re cards! You can even attach them to keychains.

This type is the best go-to card that is convenient for users. They are ideal for loyalty programs or membership cards.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Card Size

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Card Size


1. Intended Use


Before you customize your card, ask yourself, “What is my purpose?”

If your business wants to attract users, your plastic card must be unique and catchy. On the other hand, if you want to exude a regal and professional aura, your card must be sleek and clean.

Creating the design of your card must boil down to its functionality. Aside from this, it must pay attention to the aesthetics.


2. Portability


Is the plastic card handy? Can you easily slip it into your wallet? When you choose a card size for your business, you must consider its portability. Remember, the card size you select is for your customers to use.

Make sure that it is a manageable size. It must also be safe to use without sharp edges that could cause harm to users.


3. Visual Appeal and Readability


Is your design pleasant to the eyes? Are the words written readable? Your plastic cards must be visually appealing, no matter the size and shape.

They must be connected to your business if you want to add graphics. You can’t just include random things in it. Ensure that important information (text, logos, contact details) is easy to read.


4. Industry Standards


Before customizing your business’ plastic card, check if your size aligns with the industry standard. Certain industries, such as financial firms, conform with the standard credit card dimension. Unfortunately, if you are under these sectors, there is nothing you can do to change the size of the card you issue.


5. Brand Image


Having a unique, distinctive look for your plastic cards is advantageous. This allows you to be different from brands similar to your business. Just make sure that your custom size is related to the attributes of your business.

Consistency in branding, including card size, makes your business look more professional.




Deciding to customize your plastic card brings you to new heights. It can be the opportunity for your brand to be well-known worldwide. In addition, different types of plastic cards allow you to cater to the unique needs of your business.

We hope this guide fills you with the knowledge you need about plastic cards and their dimensions. Now that we’ve cracked the code to plastic cards feel free to design your own. Remember, your imagination has no limits!

If you want the best-fit design and type for your business, do not hesitate to contact JLT Card Factory. We are happy to help!



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