Access granted: All about access card reader systems


If you work in an office building, park in an underground lot or have stayed in a hotel recently, you’ve probably had experience with access cards. Access card systems are a very effective way for businesses to control access to their premises, limiting entry to only those who have the necessary permission to enter (and have the card). This is particularly important to those businesses that would otherwise be accessible by the general public. Only those with a card can get into the building.

There are several different types of access card readers. The first type works much like a credit card reader does: The card contains a magnetic strip on the back, a strip that contains all of the data that pertains to the person who is trying to gain entry. When swiped, the data on the magnet card is transmitted to the system and access is either denied or granted based on the particular access rights that person has. In order for the card data to be read, the magnet strip must actually be swiped through the machine. This type of card reader is very popular in office buildings and hotels.

A second type of card reader is known as a proximity card reader. Instead of requiring that the card be swiped through the machine, these types of readers can read the material embedded in the card simply by having the user hold the card close to the reader. When the card is waved over the reader, typically a beep will sound to indicate that the information has been read, and then access will either be granted or denied, often indicated by either a red or green light. This kind of reader is popular in underground parking garages where it is easier to wave a card in front of the reader rather than having to reach out to swipe it through.

In many cases, the access card required to gain access through these systems also doubles as the employee’s company ID. This serves a dual purpose. First, it’s more convenient for the user to be able to carry around only one piece of ID. Secondly, and more importantly to the company, having the photo idea of the user attached to the swipe card itself doubles up on the security features of the card itself. If there is any question about the validity of the access permissions, the security personnel can verify that the photo on the card matches the person trying to use it and, also, that the identity of the person on the card matches the information in the system. This makes access cards very difficult to forge, which is why they are so widely used to control access to buildings. Incidentally, these access cards can also be used as time cards, allowing employees to gain access to and from the building while clocking in and out for the day in one step.

Access card readers are benefit to many companies, particularly large companies with many employees and other personnel coming and going at different times around the clock. They reduce the need for security personnel to check the credentials of every person coming through the door, thereby expediting the security clearance process without compromising safety and security. Companies such as offer a wide variety of solutions for companies when it comes to controlled card entry.

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