Demagnetized key cards are a headache for both your hotel guests and your staff. Your hotel might have to deal with this on a regular basis if you use magnetic room keys, which can stop working after exposure to damage, heat, or other magnetic devices.

Thankfully, this is an easy problem to fix. Let’s see how Front Desk Supply can help you protect your key cards from demagnetizing for surprisingly little cost and effort.

What Causes Key Cards to Demagnetize?

If your room keys have a black or brown strip on the backside, then you’re likely using magnetic keys. The strip holds the electromagnetic data that tells the door lock whether or not to unlock.

Magnetic key cards are popular because they’re the most budget-friendly room key you can order. Unfortunately, they do have a downside: there’s nothing protecting the magnetic strip, so the data can be easily corrupted or erased.

Magnetic key cards can be demagnetized by:

  • Other Magnetic Devices: Your key card’s data can get erased when it gets too close to other magnetic devices, like cell phones, magnetic items, wallet clasps, and credit cards.
  • Damage / Wear: Key cards can lose magnetization when they get scratched or bent. The cards can also stop magnetizing as they age. [Magnetic key cards usually have a lifespan of 3 years.]
  • Excessive Heat: High temperatures can cause a key card to demagnetize. Keep this in mind if your hotel is located in a region that gets very hot.

One thing to remember: just because a key card isn’t working doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been demagnetized. A room key might have stopped working because the encoder is dirty/damaged, or because the battery on the door lock died.

3 Ways to Protect Key Cards from Demagnetizing

Demagnetized room keys are frustrating for hotel guests, and your front desk agents are probably growing tired of making new keys or having to trek up to a room to check whether or not the door lock is broken.

You can make life easier for your guests and staff by protecting your key cards from demagnetizing. Use one of 3 methods:

  • Use Key Card Sleeves: A key card sleeve covers up the magnetic strip on the back of the card, which prevents other magnetic devices from erasing the data. This is the easiest way to protect your key cards from demagnetizing.
  • Order New Keys: Still running off of stock that’s pre-pandemic? It might be time to order new key cards. After 2-3 years, the magnetic strips get worn down and stop working properly.
  • Upgrade Your KEY CARD System: Your key cards will get demagnetized more frequently if they’re using low-strength magnets. You could upgrade to room keys that use stronger “magnets” (similar to a credit card), or you could switch to RFID key cards, which rarely demagnetize. Upgrading the magnetization is free from some lock vendors.  The RFID options might be more expensive and may require upgrades to your door locks and software, but they’ll provide better results and happier guests.   

Please consider the ongoing cost of keys in the decision.  Different lock vendors use different chips inside and the higher cost keys are likely to double the cost of some of the other options.  Also, consider using the major locks – we regularly get customers calling about needing keys from obscure vendors who aren’t answering the phone and our hands are tied.  Front Desk Supply can offer guidance on how to upgrade your system.

Reduce Your Room Key Demagnetizing with Front Desk Supply.

Demagnetized room keys are no fun for anyone. Protect your key cards from demagnetizing by ordering key card sleeves, new room keys, or RFID key cards. Customize them however you like and save big when you order in bulk.

Contact us today to get started!