Photo ID FAQs

Who requires a card?
All McMaster University Employees require photo identification cards. These new cards replace the old blue employee cards, which are no longer valid.
Where do I go to get my card?
Photo Identification Cards are issued at the Campus Store Parking Kiosk Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Fridays 9am to 4pm.
Do I need to make an appointment?
No. Cards are issued on a first come first serve basis.
What do I need to bring?
Government-issued photo identification and your employee number are required.
If I require my card to gain access into a card reader door, how do I do this?
Your supervisor or department administrator needs to send an email to for your card to be programmed for that specific area.
Do I need to come back for programming?
No. The card programming is done electronically.
I have lost my card, what do I do?
Contact Security Services dispatcher immediately at ext. 24281 and have your card deactivated. You are responsible for any access gained with your card. Our dispatch center is open every minute of every day.
I reported my card lost, but I have now located it, how do I get it to work again?
Send an email to to have your card reactivated.
I require library privileges. How do I obtain these?
All employees have library borrowing privileges. When you receive your photo identification card, the barcode on the back is your library bar code.
I have a pulse membership programmed to my old blue card. Will this card now work?
Yes. Pulse memberships work from barcodes. This barcode will be printed on the back of your photo identification card and is the same code that was on your blue card.
I am a grad student, how do I get access to restricted lab areas on campus?
Your supervisor must email to request an access card be issued along with an account number to be charged. The cost per card is $10 for a blank card or $15 for a photo card. Please ensure they include a specific list (building and room #s) of the areas they are authorizing you to have access to.
When I present my card to a card reader, the door beeps, but remains red?
Your card is not programmed for that door. Have your supervisor or department administrator email for assistance.
When I present my card to the reader, it does nothing, no beeps or anything?
Please ensure the following: 1) The card is not being used from inside a wallet/purse/holder of any type, or alongside another card (access card from another facility, credit card, transit pass) 2) The card has not been damaged or mutilated (additional holes punched in it). If you have verified the above please email to have the issue diagnosed further.
I punched a new hole in my card, now it doesn't work. Do you know why?
There is an antenna that runs around the interior of the card. Any new hole punched in the card will cause the card to stop functioning and a replacement will be required.
I have heard that I could have a mealplan placed on my card. How do I do this?
Once your card is obtained you can take it to the Mac Express Center in the Commons Building room 128 and apply for a meal card.
I had to obtain a new card, and now my mealplan is not working. What do I do?
You need to take your new card to the Mac Express Center in the Commons Building to have it reactivated.
Are there things I should not do with my card?
  • Do not use for any other purpose other than for access control or identification.
  • Do not loan your card. You are responsible for all access obtained by its use.
  • Do not leave in direct sunlight, for example on the dash of a car.
  • Do not expose to extreme heat or open flame. For example, clothes dryers or clothes irons.
  • Do not expose to organic solvents, thinners, mineral spirits, etc.
  • Do not machine wash.
  • Do not use as an ice scraper or scraping tool.
  • Do not crimp, bend, or twist card.
  • Do not relaminate.
  • Do not immerse in alcohol, Isopropyl, ethanol, methyl, etc.
  • Do not bite.
  • Do not pound with a pen or tool.
  • Do not punch a slot or hole in an undesignated area.