RFID vs. Magnetic Key Cards: What’s the Difference?

When choosing or updating the key cards for your hotel, there are many factors that come into play – What is your budget? Is your hotel small or large? How up-to-date are your hotel’s technology systems? These are all questions you need to answer when choosing a key card for your hotel. The two most common types of cards – Magnetic and RFID – offer different features and benefits based on your answers.

 

Read on to learn more about key cards, and how to choose the right one for your hotel.

Magnetic Key Cards

Magnetic stripe key cards are the more traditional key card option. They open guest doors by sliding the key card into a magnetized slot, unlocking the door when the magnetic stripe lines up correctly. There are different levels of magnetization available with this type of card, and each level offers different levels of protection. A LoCo magnetic key card is typically more affordable but may have a shorter lifespan compared to a stronger card with a HiCo magnetization. LoCo cards may be easily demagnetized by holding the card to a cellphone, or common guest habits, while HiCo cards are more resilient. When compared to RFID cards, these options are typically lower cost and may be easier to integrate with your current room-locking systems. Magnetic key cards do require more maintenance than RFID – you will need to clean the room locks at least once per week with a card cleaner.

RFID Cards

RFID key cards are a newer technology in the hotel world. They allow guests to access their rooms simply by touching the key card to a pad on the hotel room’s door. Their compatibility with various locking systems makes them highly adaptable as you continuously improve and update your hotel security. When compared to magnetic cards, RFID kay cards typically offer a longer lifespan and less maintenance. Depending on your locking system and customization requests, the pricing on these types of cards may vary.

How to Choose

When choosing the right card to use at your hotel, many factors come into play. The biggest, however, is typically pricing. Magnetic keys run around 10 cents per unit, while RFID cards range from 30 to upwards of 90 cents per unit. If you have the budget to update your technology, RFID key cards are a recommended option. Their longer lifespan and decreased maintenance costs mean your investment upfront can keep your key cards fresh for longer down the line. Take into account your target audience – if they would expect the latest high-tech options from a hotel, it may be best to choose an RFID card. If you are looking for a more cost-effective option, a classic magnetic card may be the best choice for your hotel. While they may be more traditional, magnetic cards are a solid choice for smaller hotels or hotels with a target market that doesn’t expect the latest technologies. Finally, consider that guests often take keys with them as a souvenir – the impression you want to leave your guests, as well as the cost of lost keys, should be taken into account.

 

Front Desk Supply is here to help you find the perfect fit for all your hotel supplies. From key cards to PPE, we are committed to helping you give the best guest experience possible and preparing you for the travel flow of the holiday season. Having fully stocked supplies in place, including PPE, is vital to ensure your hotel functions safely and efficiently from check-in to check-out.

 

Unsure about how to continue functioning successfully during these changing times? Download our Free Hotel Checklist. This list provides your hotel with information on how to keep your doors open safely and successfully.