Table of Contents

Are Hotel Key Cards Secure?

hotel card security

Almost all hotels use hotel key cards in guest management systems. To access a room, a hotel key card is issued upon checking in. In defined periods, hotel key cards are used with door card readers installed on each door lock and can be programmed to open specific doors. One might have questions on how secure they are. Modernizing the hotel doors to be more secure makes them less vulnerable to hacking. The cards are crucial for door access control.

Can unauthorized personnel use magnetically encoded hotel key cards to steal important personal information?

Hotel door key cards contain a lot of critical personal information including; guest’s name, room number, check-in, and out dates. Is this safe for the guest? Short answer: Though some guests remain unconvinced, the preponderance of evidence suggests that key card data theft is nothing more than an urban legend. The keys don’t pose a security threat because most of them contain basic hotel data that wouldn’t compromise anyone’s critical information. The cards that included more information, couldn’t be read by a standard card reader since they were all encrypted. However, a few older systems might not be so safe.

Key cards are the most secure key system available as one can check in to see if a hotel employee entered your room and at what time. There is a serial code and a rotating code of some sort that distinguishes one key card from another. There can be two master keys with the same code but very different serial codes. Therefore, for you’re room lock to open when you check-in, the clerk puts the key in an encoding machine that records onto it the next sequential code. Therefore, the lock recognizes the next sequential code is being used and instantly invalidates the previous key when you first enter your room. If the master key card goes missing, the entire hotel needs to be re-coded. This makes the key card system extremely secure. The locks have several key card sequences programmed into them including; the master key card, the guest key card, the employee key card, the supervisor key card, and the emergency key card. The locks have batteries in them and are not wired into any system. In case of a medical or fire emergency, the emergency key card is unique in that it will automatically release the deadbolt. For every key code entry, the lock has a memory that remembers the date and time. Therefore, in the event of a problem, the security personnel will read and print the log to see who entered the room and at what time.

Click here to learn more about the master key card, guest key card, employee key card, supervisor key card, and emergency key card.


Key cards are hard to copy. The access control creates a safer environment, therefore, the management doesn’t need to encounter the risk of a guest copying a key card as they could do with a metal key. The key card system has a whole plethora of reasons that make it more secure than other forms of security or access control. Therefore, in case the key card is stolen, lost, or accidentally taken, the system allows the security personnel to manually and remotely deactivate the card. Upon checking out, the key card gets deactivated through the information on it being corrupted or damaged.


Want to learn more about hotel key cards? Click here to explore all you need to know about hotel key cards.

Go to Top