How do card locks work?

December 20, 2014

Card locks are used mainly to provide access to collectively used premises, such as offices, stores, hospitals, fitness centres or schools. Have you ever thought about how a hotel key card allows you to unlock the door to your room and your room alone?

How do card locks work?

Open, sesame

There are two types of card locks and both are very easy to use:

  • The magnetic card locks that are frequently used in hotels are equipped with a slot in which to insert your key card. Why does the door open? The door is unlocked when the card’s magnet comes into contact with the magnet inside the lock.
  • Smart card locks are controlled by a computer. They’re equipped with a reader that can verify the microchip in your card when it’s placed in front of the lock. The chip, which works somewhat like a barcode, opens the door to a list of authorized people.

Some card locks are electronic. Such is the case when the device is placed next to the door, allowing it to open automatically upon reading the card. In this context, the door is remotely controlled by a computer through wireless technology. Other card locks are mechanical and do not physically open the door after it’s been unlocked with a key card.

Why use card locks?

Cards are lighter and less bulky than a set of keys, and they provide faster access to various areas. And the fact that there is no code to remember is a significant advantage.

  • Smart card locks also provide better security because there is no need to change the locks when a user loses his or her card.
  • The access rights associated with a lost card can simply be removed. In addition, access records are stored in each card, which facilitates investigations in case of break-ins.

Small drawbacks

Card locks also have a few disadvantages. Magnetic cards can indeed become demagnetized and leave you stranded when you least expect it. As for smart card systems, they are open to hackers.

While card locks provide a higher level of security than key locks, they are also higher in price. However, costs vary depending on the system you choose and how it needs to be installed.

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