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How To Make A Key Card Work Again

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Key cards are a convenient, technology-driven way to control entry access. For example, only authorized personnel can pass through a closed door through a sophisticated network of readers, chips, and wires -all connected to an electronic lock.

This intelligent system uses digital credentials stored on each key card that is quickly read by the reader when presented or swiped at it, compared with entries in its database before unlocking the entrance.

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Door access cards, also referred to as "proximity cards," enable employees to open the doors of a building with ease. These security measures make it simple and safe for those who have authorized entry.

What is a key card?

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A key card is an increasingly popular security token that grants you access through electrically-powered doors. This type of security credential has been used for many years and offers an effortless, reliable, and secure way to protect access rights.

With the standard key, losses can compromise security should it get lost or stolen; a key card ensures security remains intact as access rights are stored digitally. Using such security tokens also provides other benefits alongside protection, such as ease of use, cost savings, and convenience.

Employees and personnel, as well as guests, can also use them in many applications and situations, not just in businesses but in the home. Every day, more organizations and individuals are discovering key card advantages.

What is the method of communication between a reader and a door lock?

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Key card door locks have used a mechanical or physical key card for several years. In addition, these key cards typically featured a magnetic stripe, which could pass information from the card to the lock. However, today technology has rapidly changed, and there are now commercial card readers that use radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC), making it more secure.

While active and passive proximity cards have many similarities, they differ significantly. Both rely on power to connect with the card reader; however, the former has its battery source, while the latter derives energy from being close to an electrical field emitted by card readers.

RFID and NFC transfer information wirelessly between a reader and an access card for authentication. For added security, these readers possess multi-factor authentication, meaning that only authorized personnel with multiple credentials can access restricted areas.

What is the secret behind a key card's ability to unlock doors?

There are several ways a card gets a lock opened. Let’s look at the most common ways.

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Magnetic stripe cards

Before employees can use a key card with a magnetic stripe, an encoder must magnetize the strip by "writing" it. Then, when you pass your key card through the reader, it quickly recognizes and deciphers its magnetic field. Then, when permission is granted to open a door - that's all there is left to do!

RFID key card

An RFID key card consists of a chip and an antenna. By utilizing radio waves, the antenna transmits security information from the chip to a compatible reader for authentication purposes. Magstripe cards need to be swiped through a card reader, but RFID cards only need to be held close to the reader.

NFC key card

In contrast to RFID cards that send one-way communication from the key card to the reader, NFC key cards utilize two-way communication.

Consequently, information flows between the NFC key card and the reader. By contrast, NFC technology can run both ways.

Hybrid key card

A hybrid key card is a card that uses more than one type of technology. For example, a magnetic stripe key card can also have a smart chip. Personnel can use the stripe for things like accessing buildings, and employees or guests can use the chip for things like storing information or making payments.

Configuring your key cards


The key card function is a vital asset for managing and controlling who has access to various areas of a facility.

To get your lock system up and running, you must install the software on your computer. It's fast, user-friendly, and will make managing locks more manageable.

Then establish a USB connection between your hotel's key card encoder and the computer to link with the card issuer. To guarantee that the card issuer and software are functioning correctly, utilize the activation code to register your hotel lock management software.

When setting up a key card, some critical factors will require configuration in your computer system to ensure the card works as intended.

Begin date

The beginning date will establish when any card is usable.

Expiry date

The expiry date sets the timeline for which the card can no longer use it.


This command allows you to replace a previously assigned key card with a new one.


This command will dictate the exact time frame when a person can operate the card during certain days or hours of operation.

Passage On

It helps grant someone ongoing access to the specified room while activating passage mode.

Deadbolt override

The deadbolt override feature allows your key card to unlock the selected room even if the deadbolt is currently locked.

Name of the staff

Entering the staff's name ensures everyone knows who holds these privileges associated with this key card.

Configuring these options carefully will provide secure access and allow users to maximize efficiency by utilizing their cards accordingly. If your key card is not working, you must set up the parameters correctly. Check again and if necessary, contact your software provider for further assistance.

Time settings are essential.

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Key card lock systems must issue time cards containing precise, up-to-date information for accurate tracking. The clock of the lock must always run in sync with or nearly the same as real-time, which means that a time card issued even just minutes ago cannot be utilized. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure your time cards are up to date, so you have access when needed.

To address this problem, you can adjust the setting time a few minutes ahead of real-time when using a lock system. You can go through each floor one at a time by entering new access cards with updated times.

Problems with the reader

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If your key card needs to do the trick, try swiping it a couple of times through the reader. Hold your card perpendicular to the card reader and lift it in one fluid motion.

An obvious disadvantage of key card locks is their reliance on batteries. Unless an external power source is accessible, the lock must be equipped with its internal battery to stay operational and read cards accurately when presented. You may incur additional expenses and inconvenience due to checking battery levels and replacing them for ideal results.

A key card lock offers maximum security and convenience with up to 200 unlocks, ensuring you won't ever have to worry about impulsively being locked out of your facility.

Nonetheless, owning a key card lock powered by batteries proves its worth as you can enjoy improved security measures with less risk of lost or stolen keys.

Problems with the cards

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With the advance of access control technology, key card entry systems have limitations. For example, people can permanently lose key cards, badges, and key fobs.

Most cards can be easily hacked and duplicated using inexpensive RFID readers. In addition, losing or misplacing cards is a security risk.

Remember that key cards can sometimes get worn out or damaged over time, so if you suspect that is the issue, ensure to get a replacement immediately. Cards that are scratched, dirty, or otherwise damaged can be unusable. In addition, key cards may stop working if they are exposed to magnets, which demagnetizes the magnetic stripe.

If you ever need help with one of your keycards, remember that all doors will only recognize the new keys after they've been used. That means any older cards won't work anymore!

Mitigate the risk of key card hacks.

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There are several ways you can prevent people from hacking your key card system and stealing your personal information. Magnetic stripe cards are easy for hackers to encrypt. Encrypted key cards with chips or microprocessors are more complex for hackers to get into.

You can take additional safety measures to ensure your doors are as secure as possible. Furthermore, for more sophisticated protection, RFID-enabled locks that can be managed remotely via an app on your mobile device offer further peace of mind against unauthorized access to your home or business.

If you're looking for reliable protection for your property, invest in state-of-the-art security systems to keep burglars away. Key card systems are beneficial but can be easily bypassed by professional thieves. Combining modern technology, robust physical security measures, awareness, and vigilance can give you the most successful chance of securing your premises.

The future of key cards

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By leveraging innovative technologies, top hotel chains are now unlocking our phones to use as room keys. Not only is this a great way of reducing plastic waste, but it also opens up limitless possibilities!

Last year, Apple and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts joined forces to introduce the revolutionary "Room Keys in Apple Wallet" feature. As the inaugural hotel franchise benefits from this cutting-edge service, it will completely revolutionize how travelers access their rooms.

Key card locks offer enhanced security and convenience, but it is valuable to be aware of their potential risks. With intelligent technology and various physical security measures, businesses can ensure their premises are safe and secure. The future of key cards is shaped by a shift towards digital access systems and mobile integrations, allowing companies to grant access with more convenience and reduce their reliance on physical cards.

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