Hotel Key Card Hack – Can You Hack a Card Easily?

We’ve been asked many times to tell you about the hotel key cards. Many people don’t think these are safe things and prefer conventional keys thinking they are much better in terms of safety. Today, we’ll tell you about hotel key cards and we’ll focus on why you can’t actually hack a key card easily.

Also, we’ll tell you why nearly all new hotels prefer using key cards instead of simple key locks. This is not that obvious and you may want to know more about this hotel technology. Maybe, you own a hotel. Then, you’ll have another dozen of reasons why you should turn to card locks rather than keep using the conventional key locks.

Here’s what we are going to talk about:

  1. Why are hotel key cards so popular now among hotels?
  2. Can you hack a key card in a hotel?
  3. Can someone copy your key card easily?
  4. Can you steal a key card and then sneak into the room?

Let’s get started!

Why do hotels now prefer key cards?

Conventional keys are still popular, but most new hotels or the hotels that make complete renovations use key card locks. These locks are more convenient for clients if you believe reports and polls. But this is not the most important reason why card locks are now so popular.

You may have heard that hotels have a lot of problems with people who steal, break, or lose their keys. What you have to do after that is to use a master key if you have it and then replace the lock. If you don’t have a master key, you can just break into the room and then change the lock and the door.

Here’s what the card lock gives to a hotel:

  • you can easily program a new key for this lock and it will cost you just some cents;
  • you can have a certain master key that can open all doors in a hotel;
  • programming the system is absolutely easy and you can create the access system for all staff;
  • the keycards can be a good place for advertisement which is hard to place on a simple key;
  • the keycards create a better experience for a guest making his or her stay more convenient;
  • a lost or a broken key will never be a problem again, this will not lead to big expenses;
  • guests may even take their keycards with them when they check out, the hotel will not mind.

Previously, if a guest took a key from a hotel after checking out, the hotel authorities needed to replace the lock. Because there was a chance that a person would come back and break into the room when there is another guest. Now, with the card locks, they just need to reprogram the new keycard for this lock and the old card will not work anymore.

If you lose your key, just head to the reception and report about it. They will immediately program a new key for you. What’s more, you can ask them to program it the way that the old key wouldn’t work anymore. This will save your possessions in case someone finds the card.

Why is a keycard more convenient for a guest?

A conventional key is much easier to lose. It’s small and it can fall from your bag or pocket easily. While a card is the same size as your banking card and it can be placed in your wallet. Even if you put it in your pocket, it’s harder to lose one because it’s quite big.

A card is much more efficient in terms of access. You can get access to your room after just inserting a card in a special card reader that often has some lights in the needed place. If you have a key, it’s usually harder to use. For example, if it’s a party hotel and you are coming back from a wild party, this is a big advantage.

Also, we’ve told you that the hotel experience is much better if you happen to lose or break your key. Just two minutes near the reception will solve this problem. With a conventional key, it may be a problem and you may even be asked to move to another room. Keycards deal with this problem easily.

Hacking a keycard – is it possible?

Well, it’s possible to hack whatever you want in this world, but the question is in resources you will need for that. One question many people have is whether previous guests in this room could copy the card secretly and now they could come to your room and steal your things.

For understanding how safe a card lock system is, you should know more about how it works. Here are some important things:

  • the key is programmed individually for each client – once the client checks out, this individual code stops working with the lock;
  • the next client gets the next individual key with just a different coding and it works up until he or she checks out;
  • if a client decides to come back to the room after he or she checks out, they will find that the old key doesn’t work anymore;
  • also, the system may warn that someone is trying to sneak into the room and the alarm will turn on;
  • the only key with a stable code that works for a set of locks is the master key for hotel staff.

The card lock system is not just a lock with a keycard. It’s a centralized and computerized system that is integrated with the safety management of the hotel. This system is specially coded to be optimal for use in hotels. And all these things that we’ve told you in this section are completed automatically once a guest checks in or checks out.

This is an important thing to understand. Basically, you can copy a keycard but it will work up until you check out. So, it doesn’t make any sense – you will just lose your time and money.

What are the drawbacks of the keycard system?

We’ve heard people say that one of the worst things is that when you forget your keycard in the room and lock yourself out, you should go to a reception and spend some time making a new key. First of all, doesn’t it happen with the metal key? And then, you can ask the hotel staff to use their master key and open your room.

But we’ve found some more important facts that could be considered real drawbacks of the system:

  • however good the system is, good hackers can still hack it and enter any room in the hotel which is really bad;
  • the cards can lose their magnetic strip efficiency and they will not work long, so you will need to “recharge” them regularly;
  • the software of the keycard system can quickly be outdated and installing a new system is expensive and time-consuming;
  • a lot of hotels don’t have specialists among their staff and in case of problems they will need to call professionals from another place;
  • once the main computer fails, all the system of access becomes a nightmare – guests can’t get into their rooms;
  • during important updates, the system may be down or it may be glitching which is inappropriate for a hotel.

OK, you can see that there are some problems with these keycards and card locks. But anyway, we should compare pluses and minuses before we decide whether this is a good technology or not. In most cases, the card system is optimal for hotels even though it has some drawbacks.

And we can see that hundreds of hotels all around the world switch their security systems to card locks. This proves that the system is actually efficient.

What if someone breaks into my room with a card lock?

Well, in this case, you will need to go to the reception. Don’t touch anything in your room, let the reception workers call the police. The hotel staff should do everything to provide you with a safe and comfortable place to wait until the police arrive and check everything.

Most likely, someone stole or copied your keycard. But if you were a target, thieves could steal or copy your metal key and do the same. Usually, card locks shouldn’t be blamed when someone breaks into a hotel room. This could happen with any other lock type.

Final words

Keycards are not bad in terms of customer experience. They are safe and convenient to use. They allow hotels to build a more professional security system that reacts quickly to any attempts of unauthorized entry. Also, these keycards are cheaper and easier to make than keys.

Hotel guests all over the world have already got used to cards and find them convenient, in most cases. But there are still some people who think there is nothing better than a metal key. We know that all options of hotel locks have drawbacks, but card locks have some important advantages for hotels and guests.