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What Materials Are Available For Hotel Key Cards?

materials of hotel key cards

To secure the hotel’s facilities, inventory, employees, and guests, the hotel has a key card entry system. These are designed to restrict, control, and manage unauthorized entry in some of the hotel’s facilities. The hotel key card system has eliminated cases of lost or stolen keys, monitored employee activities, and provided energy-saving smart technology. The key cards are convenient and reliable in the hospitality industry. Paper, leather, ABS, BioPVC, PETG, Wood, PET, PVC, and BioPaper are the common materials used to make key cards whether you are using RFID key cards or magnetic stripe key cards.

PVC key cards

Most hotel key cards are made of PVC. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is an inexpensive plastic material that works very stable. These key cards have a matt or frosted surface finish that can hide a scratch. If the hotel is using a magnetic stripe swiping system, matt and frosted finishing can reduce the signs of use.

Paper key cards

Made from RFID inlay of sourced pulp, the paper RFID hotel key cards are convenient, durable, and are manufactured at a higher cost. Paper RFID key cards offer an optional anti-microbial coating that inhibits the growth of microorganisms on the surface. They also offer more custom design options than plastic cards (e.g. printed with glitter, graphics, and foils) making them a versatile option to highlight and capture the hotel’s unique brand identity.

Wooden key cards

They are made from beech, bamboo, walnuts, cherry, birch, and maple wood options. Depending on the wood type, the wooden key cards provide the perfect substrate for magstripes and printing inks. Every wood type has its distinctive characteristics which ensure a durable hand-crafted look to the hotel key cards. Also, color stamped ink print or full two-side engraving can be done on them. Wooden key cards can be available in RFID chip technologies, HiCo, and LoCo Magnetic stripes that are compatible with all major access control systems and hotel locks. Store the wooden key cards away from the high humid environment and water as they are not waterproof.

However, it’s important to point out that the core part of RFID wooden key card is made of PVC, so it’s not 100% eco-friendly.

Leather key cards

A few hotels will apply leather key cards for their guests because leather key card looks very decent, as a result, the cost of leather key cards is extremely high. Debossing patterns are available for leather key cards. A leather key card actually is a PVC card with the leather-wrapped outside, therefore, it has a longer lifetime than a PVC key card.

BioPaper key cards

Slowly gaining its popularity, BioPaper has proven to be the best material to make hotel key cards nowadays. Made from naturally occurring resources, these key cards are 100% naturally derived making them eco-friendly. BioPaper is the 1st plastic-like paper card, so it has similar characteristics to plastic, like waterproof, tear-resistant. Besides, it has advantages that plastic does not have, like renewable, degradable, and safe for human use. Therefore, these key cards are the perfect substitute for PVC key cards.

BioPVC key cards

In efforts to have a degradable PVC material, the Nexqo company has developed BioPVC key card material. This is a durable, cost-effective material that works better than the regular PVC key card. Though the price is slightly higher, BioPVC can be thrown into the landfill or placed in a fertile environment like a compost pile and it will degrade naturally.

PET key cards

They are made from plastic resin and form of polyester, making them heat resistant and highly durable. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) key cards are a combination of polyester and PVC. They are made to withstand high heat settings whether you print or laminate with retransfer ID card printers. They are stronger than PVC cards and can also produce professional-looking key cards. They are a little more expensive than the standard PVC cards but they can also work in dye-sublimation printers. These hotel key cards are less likely to be reprinted as they last long.

PLA key cards

The raw material is natural, such as corn, undergoes wet milling, where the plant’s starch is isolated and separated. So, PLA is eco-friendly and could be degraded naturally. Few hotels were using PLA for their hotel key cards but it went crack easily after using for a while. Besides, this material will be very smelly during the degradation like something is rotted.


Back one year ago, we were talking about working on searching for new potential materials to replace plastic key cards, and today, we have successfully developed BioPaper key cards.

Till today, BioPaper is the latest eco-friendly and the most perfect material for hotel key cards in the hospitality industry. We share this product is because we can see great potential for this product. We welcome everyone in the industry to join us to explore your own opportunity.

Contact us now for further discussion.

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