Expert opinion on updated ID card standards | ISO 24789

Expert opinion on updated ID card standards | ISO 24789

Smithers in-house print and ID card expert Dave Stone sits on the ISO Working Group (IST/17 WG1) which is globally responsible for many standards around ID cards.

Frequently used standards for the physical testing of ID cards globally include:
  • ISO/IEC 10373-1 Cards and security devices for personal identification – Test methods: General characteristics. 
    •  This is the basic physical testing standard, and is not likely to change in the near future.
  • ISO/IEC 24789 Identification cards – Card service life, Parts 1 & 2.
    • Draft chapters of this standard were published August 2022.
    • Significant revisions were agreed in Vancouver, Canada February 2023. 
    • A final ballot is scheduled for June 2023 to seek approval on updated standard.
    • Publication as a complete standard is likely to be around September 2023.

Overview of core ISO/IEC 24789 chapters

ISO/IEC 24789-1 Identification cards – Card service life: Application profiles and requirements

The current version of this chapter was established in 2012. It determines the ‘application profile’ which is a combination of stresses due to ageing and also general usage. The application profile then determines which test programmes need to be carried out on the ID card. Test programmes typically use the test methods developed for ISO/IEC 24789-2 and ISO 10373-1.

ISO/IEC 24789-2 Identification cards – Card service life: Methods of evaluation

The current iteration of this chapter was released in 2011. It specifies additional test methods to assess the long-term performance of an ID card.

Challenges of ISO/IEC 24789

Our clients in the ID card sector are often unsure what tests they need to perform to comply with ISO 24789 because of the difficulty in interpreting its requirements. This is where an expert is able to understand the requirements the client is looking to meet and run through a tailored test programme with them.

The current version of the ISO 24789 standard is known to be challenging to work with for a number of reasons including:
  • It is very difficult to calculate the card application profile.
  • Once calculated, it is not always clear what test programmes are required.
  • It may be interpreted that just one test sequence could be satisfactory to claim conformance. However, there is a wide range of alternative test sequences to select from.
  • The success criteria for meeting the requirements of the standard are unclear.

What are some of the planned revisions?

The new proposed version of ISO 24789 is a radical overhaul. In many ways it is a completely new standard apart from its name.

Changes include:
  • Easier determination of the card application profile.
  • Test programmes that are simpler to identify from the card application profile.
  • Multiple test sequences required for conformance.
  • More clearly defined success criteria.
Although it is likely that a greater number of test programmes will need to be run to conform to the revised standard, the increased clarity of the standard will allow testing resources to be better focused. 

As mentioned above, these changes are planned to arrive in Q3 of 2023, subject to final approval.

ID card and security document testing at Smithers

Smithers experts assess the performance, durability and quality of ID card and security documents for clients across the globe.

We perform testing to a wide range of ISO and ANSI standards and can help give you the data you need to give you confidence in your products.

For more information, please speak to an expert.

Latest Resources

See all resources