Tag Archives: access card

How an HID Prox Card Works


A proximity card by HID is capable of storing embedded information inside. The information stored can be extracted and transmitted to a control system for processing. If the information transmitted lines up with the data stored in the control system, the system will provide an appropriate action, such as unlocking a door for a card holder.

The HID prox card, sized the same as your credit card, is part of a system that includes the cards, a card reader or readers, computer and an access control panel. Together, these components work together to act as a security officer in an organization to approve access to secure facilities or networks. Detailed, accurate reporting occurs with this system as the electronic devices log each transaction.

HID cards work as they carry an embedded binary code unique to the card holder. The code is referenced to the card holder in the database in the access system and is a specific sequence number that can be extracted by a card reader when swiped or held near the card reader.

The card reader connected to the access control system relays the sequencing for review when the card is held near. The control panel accepts the information and reviews it in a specific order to determine access eligibility. The data string is first reviewed for length. If that is correct, the binary code formatting is reviewed to determine if it can be recognized. With positive results, the system advances to review the facility code and the site code for positive matching results. If the card number is then confirmed in the database without restrictions on current time or location, the card holder is approved for access. The controller provides authorization to unlock the mechanisms restricting the door or network from opening.

The security personnel in charge of the software application have authorization to enter the database and update card holder information. Authorized people can configure the door access hardware to open and they can approve of the HID prox card entry at specific times. Reports for all activities can be generated as needed for management review.

Want to learn more about HID access cards and systems? Check out these links from our blog:

Using an HID card as an Identification Card

Tips for Printing on Your HID Card

Components of an Access System

Best Practices with HID Cards

HID Prox Cards – Best Practices

HID prox cards are used to provide security for physical and virtual assets of an organization. With the correct use of access control systems, the companies confidential areas can be tightly controlled from unauthorized users.

When implementing an access control system, it is important that the processes set in place facilitate the desired security levels. One of the places in the security process that is vulnerable is the HID prox card. Without proper handling and clear procedures, the card will not provide the security measures needed. For success with these cards, the following recommendations are provided for your review.

1. Make sure that old prox cards are voided immediately. If not voided, an unauthorized person could locate and use the card.

2. Authorize cards upon inital issuance. If cards are pre-validated and spare, the card can be used inappropriately.

3. Investigate situations where access is denied with a non standard denial response. “Card out of range”, “unrecognized,” and other responses indicating incorrect facility codes and formats indicate an illegally obtained card may have been used to attempt access.

4. Use security mechanisms on the card, such as a hologram, to discourage tampering with the card and increasing security levels.

5. Use RFID shield devices when appropriate.

6. Advise card holders to display their badge only when on company property.