What is a Proximity Card?
A proximity card also known as ‘prox’ cards are smart cards that have a feature of “contactless technology” and so they can be read without the help of a reader device which are required for reading magnetic strip cards such as debit or credit cards. In organizations, proximity cards are used in the form of smart cards to have control on their employees through physical access control system. Every employee is provided with a proximity card, and for entrance in the organizations, employees are required to display the card in front of the proximity card reader. The proximity card reader through radio signals receives ID from the proximity card which the reader further transmit to the main computer. After checking the access database, the system either allow or restrict the entry of the employee.
Types of Proximity Card
Passive proximity cards
Passive proximity cards are identified through radio waves signals transmitted from the proximity card reader. And as these cards have limited range and so in order to be read these cards have to be bring closer to the card reader. These cards are generally used in office buildings for access control doors. These smart cards are also used for public transit, in libraries and in payment system.
Active proximity cards
Active proximity cards are also known as vicinity cards. These cards uses internal lithium battery. Unlike passive proximity cards, these cards have range up to 6 feet or 2 meters. These cards are generally used for automated toll collection. However as they are powered by battery, they are required to be replace within 2 to 7 years.
There are variety of proximity smart cards and proximity key fobs available in the market for gaining physical access such as kantech proximity cards, HID proximity cards, indala proximity card, AWID proximity cards, etc.
Advantages of Proximity Cards
Proximity cards are used for dual purpose i.e. to get both physical and logical access control. These cards are used immensely use in organizations to access better and effective security measures. They are useful for checking access for restricted areas such as technology server, networks, etc. in an organization. One of the other usage of low price proximity card is that as audit reports are generated so they are used for marking employee attendance. Another feature of proximity cards are that they can be programmed to be read by multiple readers and thus they provide more flexibility with addition of new proximity readers and access control systems. For logical access control, proximity cards are also used for digital signatures, digital certifications, web authorization, email encryption, etc.
Disadvantages of Proximity Cards
Although the proximity cards have great benefits, however there are few disadvantages too. There is a greater possibility that these cards can be lost as these are very light weight. Moreover many retail outlets and merchandise using proximity cards for payment transactions. However they find the technology more expensive and thus they charge additional fee from the customer for using the contactless technology.