• On average, magnetic keycards can be re-programmed up to seven times without losing performance. However, the care of the card is an important lifespan factor. Cards with scratches, exposure to debris, and other types of physical damage can be rendered unusable.

  • Keycards can become inoperable when the magnetic stripe is demagnetized by coming in close contact with magnets. Name tags, signs, purse and wallet closures containing magnetics are possible sources. Cell phones typically do not demagnetize a card unless the back of the phone is removed, exposing the magnets. Very rarely does an encased phone demagnetize a key card.


  • We recommend cleaning locks and encoders once a quarter for internal locks, 2-3 times a quarter with external locks.


  • Make sure you’re using keycards with the correct specifications for your lock system; Low/Med/High Coercivity mag stripes for corresponding lock systems.

  • We recommend having two boxes for keycards at the front desk, one with new keycards, and one with old. This can eliminate cards that work from cards that need to be replaced being mixed in together


  • Sometimes the encoder itself needs repair. If a keycard is encoded on multiple tracks, this will make it ineffective. If you have multiple encoders, one may work better than the other.


  • If you see a green light, but have to wiggle the card or door knob, it’s not the keycard. The lock itself and/or batteries need attention/cleaning.


  • Encode a special “master” keycard and try it on the troublesome guest room lock. If it unlocks, the problem is likely with the encoder, or possibly human error.


  • Software updates for RFID lock systems can alter the type of keycard used. Again, make sure the correct keycard specifications are matched with the proper lock system.


AuthorJohn Rusher