Key Card Access Control

Key Card Access Control

Card access systems are the most widely used method for controlling who is allowed through a doorway while recording their movements in and out. They’re cost-effective, straightforward to implement, and easy to maintain.

Card-based systems are oftentimes used in properties such as:

  • Commercial buildings
  • Office suites
  • Communal spaces
  • Parking lots
  • Among many other types of buildings

Richmond Security specializes in access control systems of all types. We can advise on when a key card system is the best option for your business or facility. When key card access control is the right choice we’ll help you implement a system that protects your assets and creates a record of comings and goings.

Types of Key Card Entry Systems

Card access has been around since the 1970s, but today’s technology is far more advanced than those early systems. It’s also far more secure.

Every system has three main components:

  • The card readers
  • Electronic door locks
  • A management or administration system

There are three types of card-reading technology:

  • Swipe card readers — where the card carries a magnetic stripe and must be slid through a card reader
  • Tapping systems — where the card is brought into contact with the reader
  • Proximity — where the cardholder need only bring it close to the reading device

Although cost-effective, swipe systems can be a little inconvenient, especially for a user sitting in a car or wheelchair. They tend to be slower to use than the other systems, which may cause queuing at busy times. Damage to the magnetic stripe can result in lost data. The cards can be copied, which also creates a security concern.

Cards that you bring close to or tap against the reader are easier and faster to use. They’re more durable, too, but also more expensive. Some of the newest systems allow the use of a cell phone instead of a card. These offer a high level of security because very few people are willing to loan their phones to someone else!

The card access management system is where new users are assigned a unique ID and their cards produced. It’s also used for setting up specific access privileges for individuals or groups. The system maintains a record of who passed through an access-controlled door and when, which aids investigation into possible security breaches.

Modern systems can manage access to multiple buildings over a large site or even multiple sites. This saves users from carrying several key cards.

Benefits of Key Card Access Control

Key card systems control access, but they offer many other advantages over traditional keys for granting entry to secure areas.

  • Easy to disable access when a user is removed from the system
  • Cards are difficult to copy (especially newer technology cards, an important reason for upgrading an older system)
  • Easily set up and modify access permissions — restrict time of day the card can be used and change which doors can be opened
  • Know who is on-site or in a building at any given time
  • Maintain a record of when a building or room was accessed

Key Card Entry System FAQs

Q: Is there a limit to the number of cards that can be issued or used?

A: Mathematically speaking, yes, but it’s such a big number the practical answer is, no, there is no real limit.

Q: What does a key card access system cost?

A: This depends mainly on the card technology chosen and the number of doors to be secured. For budgeting, work on $2,500 per door, but this could go up or down depending on the details of what you need.

Q: Are electronic door locks all the same?

A: No. There are several types. Lock selection depends on the construction of the doors you need to secure. Ask us for details.

Q: Our existing system uses the Wiegand protocol. Is it secure?

A: No. This was the original method of programming swipe cards. Devices for copying this type of card are widely available. Modern systems offer far higher security.

Learn More About Key Card Systems

Richmond Security can help you implement, upgrade, or replace a key card access control system. Click the button below to schedule a free security assessment and learn more about your options.