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 Guest I am looking for a plastic card to support a well-being initiative my company. It should be custom printed, separate into two pieces (card size for wallet and smaller key-chain version), have both a magnetic strip and an optical bar code.

We want the card to accommodate two important functions/uses:
1. Program participants will register their cards, thus associating a single card to an individual user. Each time that user participates in a program activity, we will scan their card and credit them for their participation by giving them points they can exchange for value (discounts, prizes, rank, etc.) This is pretty straight forward. The card is a proxy for a user and a scan always credits the same user account.
2. But, we also want the card to entitle the user to discounts at participating retailers. At its simplest, we might say "Scan your card at Whole Foods to get a 10% discount on granola…" In this example, thousands of different user's cards would activate the same discount. Also, the database would NOT be connected to the retailer's systems.
3. The ideal solution would be more sophisticated still. In this scenario, a user's accumulated points in the database would entitle them to graduated discounts. E.g., 10,000 points = 10% off granola. 20,000 points = 20% off granola. Again, our systems would not be connected to the retailer's systems.

I realize these are tricky requests but I figured you were game for a challenge.

The first half of your request is easy to accomplish with a dedicated card printer like the Fargo DTC4000. This unit along with the appropriate software and media we can provide will allow you to create any kind of card design you like with both MSR and bar code. The management of your card database is something we can help create a custom application to facilitate this process. Internally it will be easy to track card usage but given you will want your customers to use the cards at other retail outlets there will have to be a means to share this data with these outlets as the cards themselves will only hold a unique ID for each user. The retail outlets will need to know who gets what discount and we have various ways to do so including web-based solutions.

Filed under: Question and Answer

Posted February 18, 2011