Card Printing Tips & Advice

Understanding Technology Debt And The Impact On ID Card Printing

swiftpro k30 and money to show that technology debt can be broken

Are you familiar with the term ‘technology debt’?

Many consumers are completely unaware of its meaning, however, it’s an important factor to keep in mind when selecting and buying any technical device.

In this post, we’ll be exploring the concept of technology debt, its impact on ID card printers and the strategies to avoid it.

Let’s get started …

What is technology debt?

Technology debt describes the hidden costs of purchasing, repairing or maintaining the wrong product over a set period of time.

How does technology debt affect ID card printing?

Technology debt affects the ID card printing industry primarily in the form of hardware (ID card printers). A high percentage of consumers have and continue to purchase an ID card printer solely based on price. This approach continues to affect the industry as end-users are left in a tricky position the minute their printer no longer meets the requirements of the organisation.

Primary causes of technology debt with card printers?

  • Poor pre-sales qualification
  • Budget restrictions
  • Purchasing on price
  • Opting for the cheapest printer
  • Poor product knowledge
  • Ignoring card design requirements
  • Rebranding
  • Switching from non-technology to access control cards
  • Increased print volumes

Real-life example

Customer A is a facilities manager at an organisation with around 60 full-time employees and on average, they have 50-100 visitors to the site each month.

Customer A purchases a direct-to-card printer online and makes his decision on price. Note that in this instance, customer A opted not to speak to a specialist before placing his order.

Post-purchase, customer A notices that the quality of cards is detreating and the printhead needs to be replaced. Why?

As Customer A is printing onto an access control card with an uneven surface, the printhead has now become damaged, the cards have also been misprinted.

In this scenario, the customer’s card requirements do not meet the capabilities of the printer.

The result is the customer will now need to purchase a retransfer printer to fulfil their requirements.

After adding up the price for the misprinted cards, damaged print-head and having to purchase two printers, the technology debt price comes to a total much higher than purchasing the correct equipment, to begin with, see below.

receipt to show the hidden costs with buying the wrong printer

Proposed Solution

The solution to ensure your organisation doesn’t carry technology debt moving forward is:

  • Map out your card requirements including design, card type and 12-month volumes
  • Know if there are any proposed card design changes in the first 12-24 months
  • Get clarity on any proposed move to access control cards before purchasing
  • Ask to see a range of card design samples

Printer Recommendation

If technology debt has or could potentially impact your organisation within the next 12 months and you are looking to find a solution before the issues raised in this post arise then our card printer specialists would recommend taking a closer look at the Swiftpro K30 Retransfer ID Card Printer, here’s why:

  • Tested with multiple card designs and passed all in-house tests
  • Regarded as the most reliable retransfer printer on the market
  • Prints to both non-technology and technology cards (access control)
  • Improved print quality compared to like-for-like competitors
  • Lowest running cost in the retransfer space

banner to promote the swiftpro k30 ID card printer


When selecting an ID card printer, it’s important to consider the long-term costs associated with technology debt.

A cheaper printer may seem like a good option initially, but if the machine doesn’t meet your printing requirements, this can lead to hidden expenses like frequent repairs and eventually replacement costs. In contrast, investing in a high-quality ID card printer that is reliable, easy to use and meets both short and long-term goals can help avoid technology debt.

If you have a query on any of the information above or require further assistance in selecting the right ID card printer for your needs, our experienced team is available to help.

Contact us today at 0800 988 2095 or check out our blog summarising the Best ID Card Printers of 2023.