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7 Reasons Why Your Key Cards Stopped Working

swiping keycard

Key cards play a crucial role to grant access and access control in the hotel. Key card malfunction is a minor inconvenience that happens more than once at a hotel. For access to various areas in the hotel, this may be a problem if the hotel key card stops working. There are several possible explanations for this that may require the maintenance’s urgent attention for a guest to enjoy his/her stay at the hotel. These include:


Physical damage


Once the key card drops on a hard surface, it might get nicked. The card gets hard to be read in case of crusted cracker-crumb bites, scratches, and folds. Key cards stepped on by a dog, left in the hot sun, or rubbed by beach sand in a pocket might look just fine but may have lost the ability to access the room. Even though key cards are reused endlessly in the hotel industry, staff can finally throw key cards that are stuck together with gunk. It’s advisable to sanitize the key cards with an alcoholic wipe before tucking them away.




Depending on the hotel’s check-out policy, on the date of the guest’s departure, the key card might be programmed to deactivate at noon. If a guest extends their stay or has two back-to-back reservations, the key card might stop working when the first reservation is over if the front desk hostess had not connected them. Therefore, if you plan to extend your stay, have the key card re-keyed.


A credit card demagnetizing the key card


Any magnet can impact the mag stripe on the back of the card including a magnetic handbag clasp. Also, a cell phone can demagnetize the key card even though it doesn’t happen often.


Wrong encoding upon checking in


If the key card was not encoded with the correct number of nights, the card won’t grant you any access. The key card control system is programmed to give access for a certain period until a guest checks out. If the front desk hostess fills in a few nights, the card will stop working. The card can either be added to the remaining nights or the guest is given another key card with the remaining number of nights.


The door lock needs maintenance


If the room door lock cannot read the card, the card won’t work. The lock recognizes the sequential code and instantly allows access to the room. The door lock has a card reader that may have a slight malfunction that is locking you out.


Quality of the mag stripe on the back of the key card


There are two different levels of coercivity that mag stripes come in. Low coercivity (LoCo) is commonly used in hotels. The data on these key cards can be erased and changed easily as they are designed for short-term use. The LoCo type used in hotels is vulnerable and less expensive, therefore, if you put the key card next to a camera, on a table where a TV is present, or even in the purse or wallet near another mag strip card could wipe the data or damage it.


Encoding equipment and the age of the card


This can change the effectiveness of the key cards due to dirt accumulation of the encoding equipment. Therefore, the equipment needs to be cleaned or maintained regularly. After hundreds of times of running cards through the low-cost encoder, the mag stripe will eventually wear out and the data becomes garbled and worn out.


Nexqo is a professional hotel key card manufacturer with over 10 years of experience in printing and exporting hotel key cards worldwide. Click here to learn more acknowledge about hotel key cards.

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