When choosing security credentials, business owners typically have four distinct options to consider: cards, fobs, badges, and mobile passes.

  • Keycards: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) keycards are popular thanks to their relative low-cost and reliability. Magistripe – or “swipe” cards – use the same tech as credit cards but are largely considered to be less reliable than RFID cards, due to their lack of encryption.
  • Fobs: Also operating on RFID technology, key fobs are small ornament or keychain style credentials; small in stature and somewhat more durable than keycards.
  • Badges: Custom photo ID badges offer businesses a wealth of versatility, and can be used to open doors, log onto computer systems, make purchases at the cafeteria, and more.
  • Mobile Passes: An employee’s authenticated smartphone essentially becomes their credential, allowing for optimal convenience.

Contrary to popular belief, most access control platforms can use these devices interchangeably. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. The question then becomes: what make the most sense for your business and employees?

There are three main factors – or selling points – that frequently drive a decision when choosing security credentials:

  • Functionality: How are your credentials ultimately going to be used? Badging is a popular choice, as lanyards are a quick and easy way for employees to present their photo IDs. If simplicity is the name of the game, however, mobile passes are incredibly convenient, particularly for tech-driven communities in which every employee brings a smartphone to work, anyway. This eliminates the need to shell out cash for badges or fobs.
  • Durability: Fobs are perhaps the most durable option. Their size and construction make them incredibly hard to beat up. A mobile pass, on the other hand, is as rugged as an employee’s phone allows. Keycards tend to fall on the more fragile side of things. Not only do they bend and break on occasion – but they are also vulnerable to loss and theft. Badges can go either way. High quality, high durability badges are certainly available, but are also more expensive. Speaking of which…
  • Price: We all remember the old adage: “you get what you pay for.” In other words, the higher the security, the higher the cost. Premium credentials can cost upwards of $10 per unit. Or you could go the other route with a basic clamshell card for $1.50 or $2 per unit. Due to their intangible nature, mobile passes are the cheapest option, by far, if their implementation can be justified in your work environment.

Upgrading credentials for your business? With Secom as a security partner, you can keep your property safe, secure, and continuously monitored. You pay only for the features you want and need. We also offer in-house financing. Contact us today to learn more about your security options.

This blog is the first in a five-part series. Come back next month for a detailed breakdown on the benefits – and potential drawbacks – of keycards.