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What are Proximity Cards?

Also known as prox cards, proximity cards are smart cards that can be read without having to insert them into a reader device. Learn more about prox cards and their usage applications in this article.


Proximity cards or simply "prox cards" communicate through an antenna similar to contactless smart cards except that they are read-only devices that generally have a greater range of operation. The range of operation for prox cards is typically from 2.5" to 20" (63.5mm to 508mm) depending on the reader. It is possible to read a small amount of information with prox cards such as an identification code that is usually verified by a remote computer; however, it is not possible to write information back to the card. Prox cards are available from several sources in both ISO thickness cards from .027" to .033" (.6858mm to .8382mm) and "clamshell" cards from .060" to over .070" thick (1.524mm to over 1.778mm).

Prox cards continue to grow in popularity because of the convenience they offer in security, identification, and access control applications, especially door access where fast, hands-free operation is preferred.


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