Access Control Beginners Help

Why Isn’t My Access Control Card Working?

why is my RFID card not working

The last thing you need is your access control card to stop working – it can make you late for work, lock you out of campus or stop you from getting where you need to be.

It’s the same as breaking or losing your key – after all, smart cards, RFID key fobs, and proximity cards all have a similar function to a standard lock and key.

The question is, why do access cards stop working? Well, we’ve found that most access control card problems rarely have anything to do with the card reader. 9 times out of 10, the issue lies within the card itself, or the access control system.

But how can you tell what the issue is? That’s what we’ll be going through in this post. Read on to find out whether your access control card is broken, or if there is another valid reason why your card isn’t giving you access.

Reasons why your access control card isn’t working

Your access control card is broken

The most obvious reason why your card isn’t working is because there is physical damage to the card, which has stopped it from communicating with the security systems. It isn’t always easy to spot physical damage, however, if your card isn’t working, the first thing you should check for is scratches or marks.

If you use a magnetic stripe card, check the iron strips on the back. If there’s a problem with the magnetic strip/iron strip, then the access card will have altered or no functionality. This is because any issues with the strip cause the data on the card to become unreadable when scanned against a reader.

To protect your magnetic card, it’s important to keep it away from other metal objects such as keys or coins, as these can interfere with the strips. In most cases, damage to the strips is irreparable, and you’ll need to reorder replacement access control cards.

At Digital ID, our access control products are durable and long-lasting. However, if you do encounter a problem with the cards, our experts can help – customers can simply contact our dedicated team for further information, to replace broken cards or to troubleshoot the problem.

The antenna and chip may be broken

Although proximity cards and contactless cards tend to be more physically durable than magnetic stripe cards, they aren’t completely safe from damage.

With these types of access cards, the technology is contained internally, which can make it difficult to tell if there is any damage. However, if there are cracks or splits, then the wiring or internal antenna could be compromised, affecting the circuit board and the signal.

Internal damage often means that cards can’t transmit radio signals to the reader. In short, the card won’t grant you access.

This can occur if you are careless with your card, for example, if you submerge it in water, or use it for reasons other than access control. Internal damage can’t usually be fixed and can only be resolved by replacing the card.

It could be the magnetism

The next step is to check whether the magnetism is working. Magnetism is one of the main access control vulnerabilities as data can easily be scrambled with cards and key fobs. For instance, mobile phones and magnetic fields from other cards can cause problems with the internal data and magnetism.

Note that this is more often the case with low frequency cards. Higher frequency cards such as the MIFARE Classic 1K EV1 cards with magnetic stripe tend to be the most resilient to magnetic interference so don’t usually have this issue.

To avoid interference with the magnetism, keep your magnetic stripe cards away from magnetic objects such as smartphones or security tags.

Alternatively, it might not be the card. Here are some other reasons why your access card might not be working:

Your access control card not allowing you access doesn’t always mean that it’s broken. The problem may not be the physical card, but the access control security system instead.

Access permissions have changed

Access permissions can be adjusted – whether that’s the locations that the cards allow you entry to or the times that they allow entry. Administrators can restrict access for numerous reasons.

For example, if you temporarily misplace your card and report it as missing, access will be restricted. Once you find it, access will still be restricted. To regain access, you would have to let the administrator know that you have found your misplaced card so that they can reinstate your permissions.

If you’re unsure whether the issue lies with the card or the access control system, then check with the person who programmed the card. This is usually the security manager or administrator. They should shed some light on the issue, and offer you assistance in the event that your access is restricted.

You’re trying to get into a restricted area

One of the simplest explanations as to why your access control card may not be working is that you don’t have the authorisation to enter the place you are trying to access. This is more common in large workplaces with high numbers of employees.

Perhaps you’re trying to access a part of the building where you don’t work, or are trying to gain access during non-working hours? If so, then this might be why your card isn’t working.

For example, many offices will restrict access to the building from 8 pm until 6 am for security reasons. So, if you’re trying to access an area with your access control card during unusual hours, then chances are that your card has been programmed to restrict your access.

It’s important to note that access control cards can be encoded to each specific user, therefore company administrators can track the card usage i.e. where cards are being used, and when. This means that access can be restricted as and when deemed appropriate by the employer.

If you’re unsure where your card allows you to go and what time it will function, check with your security manager.

After reading this post, you should now have an insight into the most common reasons why access control cards stop working.

If you’re looking for long-lasting, high-quality access control cards, check out our impressive range today. Whether you need proximity cards or contactless cards for your company, we’re sure to have something for you. Give us a call on 0800 988 2095 to speak to one of our experts today. We hope to speak to you soon.