Menu My Basket

Prox cards: What are they and how are they used?

Printer Supplies Finder
Prox cards: What are they and how are they used?

A prox card, or proximity card, is a contactless ID that can be detected without the card having to physically come into contact with the reader. Prox cards are particularly convenient for high-security environments where personnel are regularly coming and going, as they can be kept in a purse, wallet, pocket, mobile phone case or lanyard while still serving their purpose.

What are Prox Cards?

Proximity cards, such as the popular SwiftProx or HID® Prox, are contactless cards that work without the need to insert them into a reader and are regularly used for applications including door access, gate access, car park access and more. They typically look like a standard debit card or credit card and contain an embedded antenna that transmits data between the cards chip and a reader. The cards chip contains the data required to release any relevant door locks. While proximity cards are the most popular format, other proximity products are also routinely used, such as fobs, stickers or clamshell cards.

How do proximity cards work?

Prox cards make use of a low radio frequency (125KHz) to transmit information to a door access reader. When the card is in close proximity to the reader, the unique set of data contained in the cards chip is sent from the reader to the access control panel, which will verify that the card is authorised in the building's internal database. If the cards data is approved, the door will unlock.

What are the main uses of prox cards?

1) Security

Proximity cards are often employed to eliminate issues that arise with traditional security measures like a standard lock and key. While practically anybody can use a key to unlock a door, a prox card contains a unique access code that cannot be duplicated or cloned. This helps prevent unauthorised access to critical areas.

2) Access logging

Many organisations need to keep an access log for security, monitoring and legal purposes (for example, in a hospital or pharmacy where personnel have access to controlled substances). Prox cards provide a simple way to monitor when a person has entered/exited a room or area of a building.

3) Tiered access

Proximity cards can be used to ensure only those with the correct permissions to enter an area are allowed to do so. Businesses can individually grant access permissions to cards to create a system of compartmentalised access without having to go to the expense of specialised key cutting or colour-coding.

4) Timed access

Some systems can be programmed to only allow access to certain areas at certain times. An example would be to prevent unauthorised access to an industrial area while hazardous materials are in use, or while maintenance operations are being undertaken. This can help to reduce the possibility of workplace accidents and ensure employee safety.

Find out more and buy online

If you'd like to improve security and create a more streamlined access system for your business, why not consider using prox cards as part of your access control solution? SwiftProx cards are a great place to start or you can browse and purchase our full selection of prox cards here.