A Guide to Badging System Accessories

From lanyards to anti-skimming holders, a review of accessories for display and retention of ID badges and access cards

These molded plastic card holders offer the most rigid and sturdy protection for cards as they will not tear or fold and can be conveniently used on a daily basis with minimal wear and tear. They usually have chain holes or slots for use with lanyards or badge clips and are available in vertical or horizontal formats as well as in a choice of colors. Various styles are available including those with rails on all four sides keep the card in place and those with thumb notches to more easily allow access to the card. As well, most models can hold more than one card.

Rigid card holders with rails are best used for visibly displaying and storing badges and those with thumb notches are best for cards used regularly with access control systems. Also, most rigid card holders are designed for used with ISO credit card size measurements and will not accommodate cards of other sizes. Depending on quantities ordered, costs of rigid card holders can be upwards of $1.00 each.


Lanyards are a kind of neck cord and are available in several different kinds of materials, including polyester, elastic, plastic, nylon and even in a reflective material for use when visibility is a concern such as for emergency personnel or traffic controllers. They can be ordered in a wide range of styles such as flat in various widths or round - woven, braided, or with an inner filling and in varying lengths.

Lanyard Attachments -- Lanyards also come with a wide variety of attachments which can make the access process substantially more convenient for the wearer and help to maintain security procedures. For instance, badge reels make it easy to scan or swipe a badge without having to unclip it from one's person or remove it entirely. The badge stays attached to the lanyard instead of being shoved into a pocket following a scan or identification procedure.

Multi-use lanyards feature two end fittings to attach a variety of ID credentials, access cards, keys, etc. They are also available with plastic hooks, nickel-plated steel swivel hooks, bulldog clips, pull-apart key rings, eyeglass holders, snap buckles, carabineers or whistles.

Special Features -- Lanyards can be ordered plain or imprinted with a company name, logo, etc. and are fully customizable on both the attachments and the lanyard. In addition to their versatility, neck lanyards are popular because they do not damage clothing in the way that pins and clips can and the new, no-flip versions keep badges from turning over, making identification badges easier to see and read.

Neck Chain Lanyards -- Similar in concept to neck lanyards, neck chains offer the same functionality. They are available in varying kinds and sizes of beads and with a limited number of strap attachments.


Badge reels are ideal for smart card and access control applications because of their ease of use in swiping a badge. The retractable cords are available in different lengths and thicknesses and the attachments (i.e. clips) can be located on the back of the reel or at the end of the cord. Heavy duty badge reels differ in that the cord is made of nylon or steel wire. Attachment options may include bulldog clips, swivel hooks, slide type belt clip, locking bar pin, reinforced vinyl strap clip, key ring, wire cord or flexible plastic hook with a snap closure.


Badge clips may seem like a trivial afterthought once all is said and done in selecting a badging system but they are indispensable for keeping badges and card holders where they are supposed to be. Varieties include spring-loaded alligator-type clips, brooch pin and safety pin clips, plastic straps with steel or plastic clips and magnetic disc clips.

Card holders and lanyards usually come complete with clips of some sort but they can also be ordered as a stand-alone item.

About the author: Bill Kieckhafer is general manager of Brady People ID, a Brady business. The company offers a wide array of badging and access control card accessories.