How to Extend The Life of a Proximity Card

The technology that makes a proximity card work includes an antenna and electronic Proximity Card chip. Both of these are embedded into the card when it is manufactured. All proximity card brands (e.g., HID, ValuProx, Indala, Kantech, Keri, Casi, AWID, etc.) use a similar technology where elements are embedded inside the card.

Why Prox Cards Fail
There are three primary reasons for proximity card failure:

Damage to the antenna or damage to the bond between the chip and the antenna will destroy the card.
Exposing the card to electro static discharge (ESD) can damage the integrated circuit.
Strong magnetic fields can wipe out the programming on the card’s chip.

125khz Proximity Cards are intended to be used strictly for access control and identification purposes. When cards fail, it’s frequently the result of unintentional abuse by the card holder. Below is a list of common actions that will damage a prox card:

Machine washing the card by accident when it’s forgotten in a pocket of a shirt or pair of pants
Exposing the card to extreme heat (direct sunlight on the dash of your car, clothes dryer or iron)
Punching a hole or slot in a non-designated area which can damage the internal antenna or electronic chip
Using the card as an ice scrapper for the windows of your vehicle
Bending, twisting, sitting on, or crimping the card
Exposing the card to chemicals including organic solvents, thinners, mineral spirits, alcohol, isopropyl, ethanol, or methyl.

What You Can Do to Protect Prox Cards
Physically protecting your proximity card is a vital preventative measure against damage or abuse. To prevent damage, the very best way to do this is by using an ID badge holder. Not only are badge holders an easy way to prolong the life of your prox card; they’re also affordable and come in a variety of choices for use in virtually any environment.

Look for features in a badge holder that will most effectively suit your requirements. Common options include flexible vinyl holders for light duty use and a simple method of protection. They can have features like a sealable top similar to a sandwich bag, UV protection, or anti-print transfer technologies to keep the actual image from wearing off on the holder. They allow the cards to be protected but still visible.

Your ideal solution against physical damage would be a ridged holder. This type of prox card holder is made of hard, long-lasting plastic and well-designed to take more abuse. They come in a number of styles, including

styles that lock cards into the holders
a slotted version to easily remove cards
a multi-sided model to hold different card types (e.g., thicker clam shell prox cards)

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