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Key Fob and Card Access System for Business Cost

November 8, 2023

Too busy to read? Here’s a summary:

  • Key fob prices usually range from $4 to $25 per unit, and access cards range from $4 to $25 per unit. Card and fob door readers can cost anywhere from $100 to $700 per unit (one at every controlled entry point). Installation and software expenses for fob and card access systems can range from $500 to $7,000.
  • Aside from key fobs and cards, access control credential options include biometric, PIN-based, smartcard, and smartphone credentials.

Secure your business or institution with state-of-the-art key fob and card access systems. They’re your keys to a safer, smarter workspace.

But how much do these access control systems cost? And when it comes to quality, security level, and price, how do they compare to other access control credentials?

Let's find out!

The Nitty-Gritty of Key Fob and Card Access Systems

Key fob and card access systems are part of the broader category of access control systems. Access control systems use keyless credentials—including key fobs and cards—to identify users before granting or denying access to different areas of a property.

Why Choose a Key Fob or Card Access System?

Enhanced Security: Traditional mechanical keys can easily be duplicated, but electronic keys are much harder to copy. Unlike traditional keys, which cannot be deactivated when lost or stolen, lost or stolen electronic keys can instantly be deactivated as soon as they are reported missing.

Convenience: Fob and cardholders need to fumble through fewer keys; a single fob or card can grant access to multiple areas. What’s more, system administrators can add, revoke, or adjust access privileges remotely and at any time.

Audit Trails: By automatically storing access data, administrators can find out who accessed what area and when for an extra layer of accountability.

According to a recent survey on access control uses from Security Magazine, 42% of organizations use access control systems to monitor occupancy data, highlighting the use of modern access control systems for more than just restricting access.

Comparing Key Fob and Card Credential Costs to Other Access Control Credentials

The rough industry standard cost for access control is between $1,700 and $2,500 per door.

That said, when installing seventy or more electronic door controls in a small area, such as a single apartment building or hotel, the price can drop significantly. This is because wireless connections make sense in dense settings, thereby reducing the need for expensive cabling infrastructure.

Below, we’ll compare the typical costs of fob and card systems with other popular credential options. Then, we’ll look at door hardware costs, which can affect the price of an installation independently from other factors.

Key Fob and Card Systems

Key fobs and cards are often lumped together because they operate on similar principles. The cost for these types of systems varies but generally falls within the following ranges.

Key Fobs: $4 to $25 per unit

Cards: $4 to $25 per unit

Readers: $100 to $700 per door

Installation and Software: $500 to $7,000

Network Infrastructure: Variable

Benefits of Fobs and Cards

Biometric Systems

Biometric systems use biological data to recognize users and are on the higher end of the cost spectrum. These systems can range in price depending on the biological data that must be scanned. For example, iris scanners are significantly more expensive than fingerprint scanners.

Scanners: $200 to $2,000 per unit

Software and Installation: $1,000 to $6,000

Network Infrastructure: Variable

Benefits of Biometric Systems

  • High level of security
  • No need for physical tokens
  • Low risk of credential sharing or loss (fingertips, retinas, etc., are hard to shake)

PIN-Based Systems

PIN-based systems are generally the least expensive approach to access control, but they also provide the lowest level of security. Costs can include:

Keypad Readers: $100 to $700 per door

Software and Installation: $200 to $7,000

Network Infrastructure: Variable

Benefits of PIN-Based Systems

  • Quick and straightforward to use
  • No physical credential that can be lost or stolen

Smartphone Credential Systems

Mobile access systems use smartphones as credentials and are becoming increasingly popular.

Software Licenses: $5 to $25 per user per year

Readers: $200 to $700 per door

Network Infrastructure: Variable

Benefits of Mobile Access Systems

  • High convenience factor
  • Easy to manage and update

Beware: while card and fob licenses are transferrable, most smartphone credential licenses cannot be migrated. They must be purchased anew when end-users switch to different phones.

Cloud Access Control Systems

Cloud access controls eliminate the need for on-site servers and often operate on a subscription model, making it easier to budget and manage expenses. With features like remote management, real-time alerts, and comprehensive reporting, cloud-hosted access control systems are revolutionizing the way organizations safeguard their assets and personnel.

Cloud Hosting: $7 to $40 per door per year

Readers: $100 to $700 per door

Network Infrastructure: Variable

Benefits of Cloud-Hosted Access Control Systems

  • Eliminate the need for on-site servers and reduce maintenance costs.
  • Unparalleled flexibility and scalability

Access Control Door Hardware Costs

The type of access control credential you opt for can significantly impact your overall costs, but so can your door hardware (regardless of the credential used). Door hardware for access control systems can range from $150 to $5,000, with simple electric strikes falling on the lower end of the spectrum and electrified push bars (which pull in automatically when movement is detected) being more high-end.

Best Practices for Implementing Key Fob and Card Access Systems

Consult an Expert: Don't go it alone. Consult with professionals like the team at Mammoth Security to assess your needs.

Regular Updates: Keep the system's software up-to-date to protect against vulnerabilities.

Employee Training: Make sure your staff knows how to use the system correctly to avoid any security lapses. After installing or upgrading security systems, the experts at Mammoth Security provide free staff training to ensure that your system’s features are effectively leveraged.

The Takeaway

While key fob and card systems offer a balanced approach in terms of cost and security, the best choice for your business will depend on your specific needs and budget constraints. Biometric systems offer the highest level of security but come with a steeper price tag. PIN-based systems are the most budget-friendly, but they’re also the least secure. Mobile access systems offer a modern, scalable solution, but they require a robust network infrastructure and charged smartphones to initiate entry (and sometimes exit) processes.

Your Go-To for Key Fob and Card Access Control

Mammoth Security is Connecticut’s one-stop shop for business-grade security products and installations, including fob and card access control systems. We provide our customers with an expansive variety of high-caliber security solutions that we customize to their specific site layouts, workflows, and security requirements.

Click to contact us and fill out the form for a free site survey and consultation. We’ll send over a friendly expert to assess your property, answer your questions, and begin developing a system that’s ideal for your needs.




Generally, key fobs and cards can cost between $4 and $25 per unit.

In access control, the benefits of biometric systems include a high level of security, no need for physical tokens, and a low risk of credential sharing or loss.

In terms of cost, PIN-based systems are generally the least expensive approach to access control. Keypads generally cost between $200 and $700 per door unit and are more budget-friendly than fob and card systems.

In the context of access control, mobile access systems use smartphones as credentials. They offer high convenience and are easy to manage and update, but they require a robust network infrastructure. Also, users must have charged smartphones on them for ID verification.

Key fob and card systems offer convenience by eliminating the need to carry multiple keys. A single fob or card can grant access to multiple areas within a facility. They also enable quicker entries and exits than many other electronic key systems.

Audit trails in key fob and card access systems provide an extra layer of accountability by allowing administrators and investigators to know who accessed what area and when. In many industries, such as healthcare and financial, audit trails are often required for regulatory compliance.

The software and installation costs for biometric systems can range from $1,000 to $6,000, depending on the type of biometric technology used.

The best practices for implementing key fob and card access systems include consulting with professionals, keeping the system's software up-to-date, and ensuring that staff is trained on how to use the system correctly.



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