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Key Fobs vs. Access Cards: Differences and Similarities

New technology allows individuals to gain access to their businesses and homes without ever sticking a key into a lock. Security systems are now available that allow key fobs and access cards to be used with just a swipe or a touch. They are more secure than the conventional lock and key and much more reliable than having to use a digital keypad to type in a code.

Codes can be easily forgotten and the keys may become lodged or not work properly over time. Key fobs and access cards both have advantages and disadvantages, but what they both offer is convenience and security that is both consistent and reliable, time after time.

Phasing Out the Lock and Key

Many companies and homeowners as well are beginning to phase out the conventional lock and key locking systems. They are looking to new, keyless systems that provide an enhanced level of protection that is much harder to breach.

One of the main drawbacks of a conventional lock and key is that they are easily compromised. All someone has to do is gain access to a key or purchase special tools from a locksmith that allows them to “pick” the lock or disturb the tumblers enough to allow the lock to release.

Key Fobs

Key fobs are small devices that are set up to “pair” with another device. When they are used as a “key”, they are programmed with a specific code that matches the lock that they are paired with. Key fobs offer a much higher level of security than traditional lock and key setups because the locks cannot be opened in a conventional manner without triggering some type of alarm.

Key fobs are easily attached to key rings and will not unlock the door unless they are used correctly. In most cases, this means pressing the side of the fob up against the keypad or pressing a button that sends a signal to the control panel to unlock the door. Normally, this signal is relatively weak and must be used within a few feet of the panel for it to work.

Access Cards

Access cards are another way that business owners can eliminate the need for keys. Providing employees with access cards (sometimes having a dual purpose as an Identification card or badge), allows them easy access to the building without compromising security. The magnetic strip on the card carries a specific code that unlocks the system when the card is swiped through the system.

The main problem with access cards is that they can be easily erased or their magnetic strip compromised if placed too close to a strong magnet, or even a cell phone. Some key fobs may also be corrupted when exposed to strong magnets, but their hard plastic coating may prevent that. Access cards are easily stored within a person’s wallet or in a pocket. They are less bulky and allow for maximum convenience if you are in a hurry to gain access to the building.

Convenience and Security

With the traditional key system, you may have to carry a handful of heavy, metal keys to unlock your vehicles, home, business, office, padlocks, boats, motorcycles, etc. Key fobs and access cards eliminate the need for several keys allowing you the freedom to come and go as you please without always having to locate and utilize your keys. Both key fobs and access cards are easy to store and tamper resistant.

They are very difficult to compromise and can add a significant increase in the level of security for both businesses and homes. Key codes can be easily changed and re-programmed into them making it even more difficult for intruders to circumvent the security protocols that are already in place.

Making the Final Decision

Keeping homes and businesses secure has gotten much easier over the past few decades. Security systems are now able to operate on a digital level making it much harder for intruders to gain access to certain areas. Key fobs and access cards are capable of performing several functions making them even more convenient and reliable.

They also provide financial benefits that include a discount on insurance premiums and a decrease in losses due to theft or burglaries. Hiring a security company that offers 24-hour monitoring in addition to the keyless entry systems can dramatically reduce the risk of loss on a variety of levels.

If you’re in the market for a new access control system for your home or business, get in touch with Great Valley Lockshop today at 610-644-5334. We’ll be glad to help you find the best product for your needs!

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