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How Much Does a Card Access Control System Cost?

Access control system prices are based on the number of doors that require security and the amount of traffic that each door must handle. Hardware is the most expensive part of an investment that may range from $1,500 to $2,500 for a single door. Access control system costs for multiple access doors in companies that have 300 or more employees may range from $10,000 to $15,000 for an initial setup. Service fees add $10 to $100 per month, depending on the number of doors and employees, and each card may cost less than five dollars.

Workplace security is usually worth much more than it costs by protecting sensitive information and limiting access to authorized employees and visitors. Protecting proprietary information and expensive equipment makes an investment in a card access system worth considering. Tracking and controlling access to exterior and designated interior doors provides a high level of security.

Benefiting from the Experience of Others

Card access systems seem to have a level of acceptance that makes them more popular than other security installations. Biometric systems can recognize an employee’s iris, fingerprint or hand print, and proximity systems can recognize a key fob or ID card that is held close to a reader. Access control estimates for systems that scan a badge or use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) are higher than those for card access systems. Research shows that manufacturers provide modifications for a fee so that unhappy customers can switch to another type of system when they are dissatisfied with an original purchase decision. High end systems offer options that some customers prefer, but their higher price range may make them undesirable to others.

Understanding the Components of a Card Access System

The equipment that increases a card access control system costs is what makes it more effective and more convenient than other systems. No one has to fumble with keys, making entry a pleasure instead of a hassle. Lost keys create a risk, and security is in doubt when keys are missing. The task of rekeying doors is costly, and distributing new keys is inconvenient. Controlled access doors provide high levels of security by providing a record of valid entries as well as a log of those that were denied.

A card access system requires hardware on each protected entry and computer software that manages the security network. To make a system work effectively, computers, software and personnel data combine to create a robust defense against unauthorized entry. The components of a card access system typically include these:

  • an ID card for each employee
  • a card reader on each protected door
  • a lock for each door
  • a control panel
  • an access control server
  • computer software
  • a database containing employee data

Reducing Operating Costs with a Card Access System

Few business owners question the need for access control to limit access by intruders or unauthorized personnel. Guarding against damage to expensive equipment or confidential information is a cost of doing business, and protecting employees from harm is the duty of every responsible business owner. Card access systems meet employers’ goals by providing affordable and effective security.

Flexibility is a major advantage of card access systems that can respond to change in a few minutes, and a single command can lock all doors within seconds. At the first sign of trouble, the system can respond immediately to protect the workplace. News reports of retaliatory actions by disgruntled employees emphasize the necessity of a flexible and responsive security system. The cost of injury to employees far exceeds access control system costs from a financial standpoint; the psychological effect or worrying about potential challenges to personal safety can cause workers to lose productive time on the job.

An efficient card access system can reduce or eliminate the need to have security guards on the payroll or a monthly service that periodically patrols an area. The savings provided by eliminating services that are more effectively provided by electronic technology equal or surpass expenditures indicated in access control estimates. Emergencies may create a need for knowing which employees are in or out of an office at a specific time, reducing the need to use extraordinary measures in response. Some software packages can serve as a registry for tracking time and attendance, providing useful data for a human resource department. Managing employees’ work hours is a potential source of savings that a card access system can provide.

Considering the Options

Access control system prices may vary by provider, and thoroughly understanding the terms of a contract can avoid confusion. Some providers include the cost of cards in a monthly maintenance fee while others require payment to replace or add cards on request. Software compatibility with computers and compatible functionality with system components is an important area for potential customers to investigate.