Key cards are becoming increasingly popular in commercial settings; especially hotels and other establishments with the need to manage access privileges due to high footfall. Key cards are a convenient, secure and flexible solution.
To operate a key card lock, you must provide a specific card that has been paired with the lock. Cards can be changed to give different access permissions and can be deactivated remotely by changing key card lock settings.
What Is a Key Card Lock?
A key card lock is a type of lock that is operated with a key card. A key card is typically flat and rectangular. It is normally made of plastic and is generally the same shape and size as a credit card or driver’s licence. A physical or digital pattern is stored on the card. The door lock has to recognise the pattern stored on a card for it to work, if not, the security system will not grant access to the user.
There are a variety of key card types currently in circulation. The most common types include smart cards, mechanical hole cards, magnetic stripe cards, barcode cards, Wiegand wire embedded cards, and RFID proximity cards. Unlike swipe cards that require insertion, proximity cards require that you simply wave the appropriate card close to the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card reader to trigger or unlock the system.
In many hotels, key card locks have completely replaced mechanical keys.
How Do Key Card Locks Work?
A key card system functions through the physical manipulation of detainers within the locking mechanism. This is accomplished by inserting the key card through shining LEDs that read a pattern of holes in the card. This can also be done by swiping the card over a sensor, or, in the case of RFID cards, bringing the card close to a sensor.
A lot of today’s key card systems use a Wiegand interface for connecting the card swipe mechanism to the electronic entry system. However, more modern systems use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, mainly because of its ease of use.
Key card locks are primarily used in commercial premises with high foot traffic and multiple users. How secure a key card lock is will depend on the manufacturer, as well as the quality of the installation process. Some combine a PIN and key card system for optimal security.
What Types of Key Card Locks Are Available?
More businesses are installing digital locks that integrate key card and biometric technology for heightened security. If you are considering installing a key card system on your property, read on below for available options.
- Mechanical key card Locks: These use detainers arranged in pre-selected positions by the key. Unless the positions match, the locking bolt won’t move. The key cards are typically plastic and have a pattern of holes.
- Magnetic Stripe: This key card works with the help of an attached magnetic stripe which needs to be run over the locking system’s sensor. The sensor reads the contents of the stripe and compares it to what is stored in either the central system or locally in the lock. Unless the content matches, the door won’t open.
- Passive RFID: This type of card contains a little chip and induction loop. These transmit to the key card reader to give the user access. This type of card is very simple to use; you don’t even need to take it out of your pocket before the key card reader can detect it.
If you need a key card lock for your residential or commercial premises, contact us today to discuss your options.