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Photo ID vs Mobile ID: Which One is Best?

Front view of Asian female executive giving employee id to Businesswoman at conference registration table.

Just like in most instances in this day and age, our mobile phones are becoming the devices we rely on for most things – including presenting your employee ID. 

Many large office buildings, schools, and other places that normally require showing photo ID to gain access are now switching to mobile ID cards. Using a cell phone is considered easier, less time-consuming, and more accurate in most cases, including when it comes to ID cards. 

However, it may not be the right decision for every space. Here are a few tips if you’re deciding whether photo ID or mobile ID cards are best for you. 

Do you want to take on the responsibility for hardware and software? 

Often, having physical ID cards requires some hardware – scanners that will read the barcode on each ID every day, and a printer that will create these IDs. You must have a place to store this equipment, and enough staff to keep the ID system updated, maintained, and produce ID cards in a timely manner for the offices and businesses in a particular building. If this building does not have many employees or much turnover, sticking with physical IDs may be fine. 

However, if your building is growing and expanding, with businesses constantly requiring you to update employee information or print new ID cards, a digital solution may be best. Mobile ID cards can be issued instantly, and the status on those cards can be updated (such as if an employee leaves or is fired, they can lose access instantly instead of waiting a certain amount of time for the system to update their card).

What is the traffic like in the lobby? 

Mobile IDs are often easier for employees to find and show to security in the mornings. If you find that there is a large backup of individuals trying to get into the building for work at rush hour in the morning, you may be able to speed up that process and make it less difficult for everyone involved with a mobile ID pass. 

Rather than having to dig in their pockets and purses and turn up an ID, it’s automatically in their hand as most people have their phone ready to go, unlike physical IDs. If, on the other hand, you find that traffic is fine and there are few complaints, you can continue to stick with an ID card. 

How often do you have to replace IDs? 

The cost and time to replace a physical ID may become an issue once you’ve scaled up. Physical cards become damaged, barcodes can be scratched off, pictures can become fuzzy or blurry, or these cards can be lost or stolen entirely! This means that at any given moment, you must be ready to print and provide a new ID card. You can fix this issue with a good-quality ID printer, but if the idea of constantly having to replace cards is still overwhelming, mobile IDs can be a good way to go.

How vital is security? 

Physical IDs being stolen or lost also become a security issue, as the person who finds it or steals it may be able to pass through security and gain access to an office with sensitive information. Law offices, medical offices, and financial firms especially have to worry about this kind of security as a lapse may lead to some dire consequences. 

An employee that has to carry their card around all day may be prone to losing the card, which creates another security risk for this individual. Someone can find this card with their private information, such as birthdays, and place of work, which can lead to another kind of security disaster.

Speak to an Expert

If you’re looking to upgrade your system or simply speak to an expert that can help you identify your needs and help you choose the best ID issuance system for you, call us at BEC Plastic Card Solutions at (855) 347-9494. With a variety of scalable ID card printers and mobile ID credentials, we can provide the best prices and products for your business needs. 

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