Are Proximity Cards the right access control cards for you?

The sheer number of access control readers and cards on the market can make choosing one bewildering. What type of reader system should you choose? Which manufacturer? What type of card or token?

The answer depends on what you want the system to do. Are you looking to simply upgrade from your traditional lock and key system, or do you want something more sophisticated, to grant different access rights to your staff for example? For some help on where to start read our blog ‘Which Access control cards system do I need?’.

One of the most common questions we’re asked is about the differences of the different access control cards. In this blog we’ll look at the Proximity Card.

HiD access control card
Proximity cards are available from a range of manufacturers

How Proximity cards work

As their name suggests, Proximity cards contain information that can be detected by an access control reader when the card is near them. For the technology minded of you, each proximity card has an antenna embedded within it that transmits information encoded as a radio signal. ID badges of this kind are also called RFID or ‘Radio Frequency Identification’ cards. A proximity card reader positioned between 2.5 and 20 inches (depending on the model chosen) receives this signal and grants or denies access accordingly. Unlike contactless smart cards, proximity cards do not have the ability to have new information written onto them.

Who uses Proximity cards?

Proximity cards are often the first choice for organisations that need to restrict entry into particular areas, particularly large businesses with multiple sites. Only card holders with the right access rights will be granted entry. Proximity cards can also bring an added level of security when used hand-in-hand with ID card software. ID information about the card holder that is stored on a microchip is transmitted in a radio wave – this then appears on a computer screen to verify the pass holder’s identity.

The entrances and exits of the card holder can then be logged into a computer database, providing a record of who was in a specific area at any given time.

For these reasons, proximity cards are often used by businesses and institutions that work with sensitive information or significant sums of money, e.g. government buildings, military bases, hospitals, banks, credit card companies and insurance companies. Proximity cards are also used by schools for student and employee ID cards.

The next level of security

You can also invest in software that will immediately notify company security if an attempt is made to enter an area with an unauthorized proximity access card. Other software is available that protects your computer network by detecting invasions from unauthorised computer databases.

We stock proximity cards, keyfobs and tokens from the leading manufacturers: Paxton, HID, Bewator, TDSi, Pac, Cotag, Indala and Kantech. We also stock GenTech access products, which are lower priced compatibles that work across multiple platforms.