Access control systems that use swipe cards and magnetic readers are one of the more effective ways for businesses to control who’s allowed onto their premises. Once installed, these systems are relatively straightforward to operate and can provide your company with the level of protection it needs, without inconveniencing your personnel.

How magnetic card reader systems work

The cards used in these systems feature a magnetic strip that contains all the data the system needs to decide whether or not to grant the individual access. These magnetic cards are swiped (hence the term swipe cards) through an access card reader which collects the data from the card, compares it to the information in the magnetic card reader software, and unlocks the door if the individual is authorized to use it.swipe card

Pros and cons of magnetic reader systems

Like most modern access control solutions, magnetic swipe card systems are very simple for your employees to use. Each card can be assigned to a particular person, which means they are a great way of controlling the access rights for groups of people or specific individuals, and an effective way of monitoring exactly who is using each of the access points on the system.

On the downside, swipe cards can be lost, stolen, or even cloned. When this happens, until the individual the card belonged to informs the system administrator, there could be a potential security threat. Once the problem is reported however, canceling all access rights for that particular card is quite straightforward and would prevent it from working even if an unauthorized individual did try to use it.

Also, if the magnetic strip on the swipe card gets damaged in any way it might mean that the mag card reader is unable to collect the data needed to unlock the access point, which is one of the more common complaints from users of this type of system. While the cards are generally quite robust, if one was to get damage or to stop working properly, canceling it and issuing a brand new one is generally a quick and inexpensive process.


Part of the attraction of this kind of access control system is that it is one of the more cost-effective ways of providing the security your business needs. Swipe card systems tend to be cheaper than some of the more sophisticated proximity card systems, but offer a similar level of protection and functionality. With basic solutions suitable for one access point costing as little as a few hundred dollars, even a medium sized business that needs to control 10-20 entrances can install this type of system for around $15,000.

Prices for magnetic reader systems

We have not purchased yet but are in the final stages of committing to a purchase with Capital Security. Very professional, wonderful salesman. Just ironing out the final details.

– Buyer from Legal Agency, Delmar, NY

$1,038 for badge access control system, $1,346 for adding electrified strike to door, $1,001 for audio/video intercom.

– Buyer from Computers – Software, Pasadena, CA

$3,000 covered our complete access control system.

– Buyer from Manufacturing Industry, Appleton, WI

$2,500 – stand alone magnetic key card entry system with panic exit and magnetic locking mechanism. Installation and programming for up to 250 users.

– Buyer from Construction/Contracting, Santa Fe, NM

Other buyers are looking for

Need to install a magnetic door entry system to permit people to be beeped into the office.

– Business Services, New York, NY

We have an existing intercom system and would like to install a magnetic door release lock and a magnetic card reader at the front entrance door.

– Construction/General Contracting, Wayne, NJ

We need to replace the old system we have at our volunteer fire house. We currently are using the magnetic key card system.

– Non-Profit, Rosedale, MD

I need to have controlled access to two of my buildings with an access control card to increase my security.

– Transportation/Logistics Industry, Valencia, CA

We need a magnetic stripe card that can record the date, time and person entering.

– Construction/General Contracting, Sterling Heights, MI

We need a single door proximity card system. This needs to include install, card reader, and door hardware.

– Computers – Software, Los Angeles, CA

Interested in an access system on 3 gates to the pool area. Would like software to be able to disable and enable access with card as needed.

– Business Services, Pinellas Park, FL