May 20

Key Fobs and Access Cards


This blog is a continuation on our recent blog on types of security systems. It provides more detail on using key fobs, access cards and readers as a method of access control for your business.

The need for an actual key to unlock a door, especially for commercial use, is becoming extinct. Security systems of today allow the use of a key fob or access card to gain entrance to a building or area. Combined with a card reader, when the fob or card is swiped across the reader, it unlocks the door. This is a much more secure and convenient method than the traditional key locks or even keypads.

Choosing between Key Fobs and Access Cards

Although they work in very similar ways, the appearance of the key fob and access card is different. The fob is similar to that of a keyless remote that comes with later model vehicles. The card is about the size of a credit card, made of plastic. They both have the codes embedded in them for releasing the lock and gaining access. Both devices use the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that transmits radio waves from the fob or card through the reader.

The choice between the fob and the card is based on a number of factors. Some think the fob is more convenient, as it can be kept on your key chain. Since you may already have your key chain out to look your parked car, you can just wave it in front of the reader. You may keep your card in your wallet or purse, which requires you to take the extra steps to retrieve it. Of course, if you keep it on a lanyard around your neck, it can be more readily accessible.

Key fobs are usually more durable than cards. They are less likely to crack or wear than the cards.

Access cards are considerably less expensive than the fobs. You can also add photo identification and individual information to cards, so that they can also serve as a company badge as well as building access. Fobs are not shaped to allow for these features.

There may be circumstances where a business chooses to use a mix of fobs and cards, based on their access requirements.

Advantages of Keyless Entry Systems

Regardless which option you choose, you will be much more secure as opposed to a traditional key and lock. Some of the advantages of using fobs or access cards with a keyless entry system are:

Additional Security

Traditional keys get lost and can be duplicated. If a fob or access card gets lost or stolen, they can be immediately deactivated. That’s also the case if an employee leaves the company for whatever reason.

Maintain Access Records

The software that accompanies the keyless entry system keeps a record of anyone who enters the building, including time of entry. This data can be used to track visitors, employee attendance and general presence of all individuals in the building.

Selective Entry

The entry system can be programmed to prohibit entry of unauthorized individuals or restrict entry during certain time periods. This can be advantageous for areas where areas are off-limits to non-authorized staff. If you have a cleaning crew who comes in after normal working hours, their access can be restricted to that timeframe.


If a fob or card is lost or stolen, it is easy to replace them. You also avoid the added trouble of changing all the locks and replacing keys in the traditional key-lock systems if even one key is lost or stolen.

Gateway Lock & Security Knows Access Control

Gateway can help you decide on the access control system that’s right for you and your business and answer all your questions.

We have been in business for over 50 years as a local, family owned and operated company.

Call us today at 636-778-1135 to schedule an assessment to protect your home or business, or send us a message and we will get back with you ASAP.


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