Receptionist giving a keycard to a guest to grant access with swipe card access control systems.


Key takeaways

  • Swipe card access control systems use key cards to grant tenants automatic access.
  • The benefits of key card entry systems are their security, flexibility, and ease of use.
  • The best contactless access control system is ButterflyMX.


Key card and key fob systems help ensure security at your property by managing access to sensitive areas. What’s more, swipe card access control systems offer a convenient and efficient way to manage access because they facilitate quick and easy entry for tenants while keeping unauthorized visitors out.

Join us to learn what swipe card access control systems are and how they work. Then, explore some benefits and disadvantages of a key card entry system for businesses. Finally, discover the best access control solution today.

In this guide, we cover:


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What are swipe card access control systems?

Swipe card access control systems use key cards to grant automatic access to electronic doors. Moreover, key cards are more secure than traditional keys because they can be easily deactivated or reprogrammed. So, it’s easy to deactivate them in the event that they’re lost, stolen, or cloned — offering heightened flexibility and security when managing access.


How does swipe card access work?

Swipe cards work by using magnetic particles or RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology to store data. When a card is inserted or swiped, the data is read by a card reader to grant simple and automatic access to tenants with valid credentials.

For this reason, key cards are used to control and restrict access to authorized individuals in environments with heightened security needs.


What technology do swipe cards use?

Swipe cards usually communicate with readers using RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology that transmits data between devices.

Each swipe card is unique and acts as a digital fingerprint that makes it easy and secure to identify and grant access to authorized users.


Benefits of key card entry systems for buildings

Here are the advantages of using swipe card access control systems:

  • Secure. A key card security system for businesses restricts access to authorized tenants only and reduces the risk of unauthorized entry.
  • Convenient. Swipe cards offer quick, easy, and touchless access for tenants without the need for traditional keys.
  • Flexibility. Key cards can be easily deactivated, reissued, or reprogrammed as needed, ensuring adaptability in dynamic environments.
  • Robust integrations. Key card access door locks can be integrated with surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and other security measures for comprehensive protection.
  • Access logs. Swipe cards record logs of all entry and exit activity that can be accessed easily in the event of a security breach.
  • Reduced risk. Unlike physical keys, lost or stolen key cards can be quickly deactivated to maintain security.
  • Customizable access permissions. With key card entry systems, you can create different access levels for various areas throughout your property.


Learn how the ButterflyMX access control platform works:


Disadvantages of swipe card door entry systems

Here are some disadvantages of swipe card systems:

  • Dependent on power. Electronic swipe card systems may fail during power outages unless they’re backed by an uninterruptible power supply.
  • Cards can be misplaced or lost. Replacing key cards is a lot easier than reissuing traditional keys. However, when tenants lose or forget their key cards, it can cause temporary access issues.
  • Prone to hacking. Unencrypted swipe cards can be cloned or hacked if the system is not properly secured.
  • Wear and tear. Swipe cards and readers can wear out over time, requiring regular maintenance and replacement.
  • Can be complex to manage. Managing and updating access permissions for a large number of users can be cumbersome and time-consuming for high-density properties.


Alternatives to ID card access control systems

Key card access control systems offer unique advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately, there are several alternatives if you suspect that a key card entry system isn’t the best option for your property.

Here are some popular alternative ID card access control systems:

  • Mobile access control. Mobile access control systems empower tenants, staff, and visitors to open entry points using an access credential that most people already have — their smartphones. Because you don’t have to issue keycards or worry about replacing lost or stolen cards, this system is a convenient yet secure way to grant access to your property.
  • Keypads. Keypads are a great way to supplement your existing access control infrastructure, as well as manage and restrict access to sensitive areas. Moreover, PIN codes can’t be lost in the same way that physical keys or cards can.
  • QR codes. QR code access control systems eliminate the need for traditional keys by using unique QR codes to grant secure access to tenants and visitors.
  • Biometric access control. Biometric systems use unique biological traits like fingerprint readers, facial recognition, or iris scanning. As a result, biometric systems offer a greater level of security for properties. However, it’s one of the most expensive access control systems to implement. Moreover, scheduling time to collect new fingerprints or biometric identifiers to grant access to new users is time-consuming.


ButterflyMX access control readers and credentials


Best swipe card access control system

With over 20,000 positive reviews, seamless access is right at your fingertips with ButterflyMX. In fact, ButterflyMX is the best way to make access simple for everyone at your property.


Why is ButterflyMX the best access control system?

  • Open any access point with your smartphone. Eliminate the need for physical keys by implementing robust mobile access control. What’s more, smartphones are a powerful way to grant access to your property because you don’t have to issue new keys for tenants.
  • Manage access to restricted areas with keypads. With a keypad, you can restrict access to sensitive areas or shared amenity spaces by granting access to tenants and staff with valid PIN codes.
  • Manage, monitor, and restrict access from anywhere. Because ButterflyMX is cloud-based, you can manage and monitor access to any of your properties from anywhere in the world for enhanced security and convenience.
  • Keep track of all entry activity. ButterflyMX takes time- and date-stamped photos of all entry events that are easily accessible in the event of security incidents.
  • Launch two-way video calls with visitors. With our modern video intercom, tenants can visually verify visitors quickly and easily.
  • Virtual keys and delivery passes. Send temporary access credentials to visitors and service providers so they can access your property securely.
  • Sleek interface. Blending beauty and functionality, our video intercom has an intuitive interface that complements any building.
  • Control access to your elevator. Enhance security at your property by controlling access to specific floors with your key-fobbed elevator.


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Tiara Sutton

I’m an Atlanta-based writer who enjoys exploring the ways that tech benefits residents & tenants of multifamily & commercial properties.

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