Choosing between RFID and passcode access for safes

This article is part three of a three-part article on hotel guestroom safes.

Knowing exactly when and who opened a hotel safe can be a valuable tool if a guest reports something stolen. Safe manufacturers agree that creating this audit trail is incredibly important. How to prevent the theft and need for the audit trail in the first place is under some debate among safe manufacturers.

With RFID locks rising in popularity, some hotel safe manufacturers are looking to adapt the technology for room safes. RFID safes allow guests to use their room key to open the safe, which eliminates the need to create and memorize a passcode.


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As locking technology is evolving to allow guests to bypass the front desk and unlock the guestroom door lock with their own mobile phone via Bluetooth, that technology will also come into play for in-room safes in the future, said Ravid Brosh, global product manager, safes, for VingCard Elsafe.

John Foley, VP of sales at Safemark Systems, said that allowing a guest to use the same key to open the guestroom door and safe removes a layer of security around the guest’s possessions.

“It is important to keep the technology separate from door locks, especially when you have multiple key cards to a room—that leaves the safe vulnerable to staff or anyone else in the room,” he said.

If a guest loses a key, Foley said, whoever picks it up gains access to both the room and the safe, which is not true for a safe protected by a passcode.

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