Magnetic strip locks are very similar in size and appearance as credit cards and some driver’s licenses. They are popular in areas where different suers must be accommodated without having to change the lock each time, such as in hotels or small businesses.

When the magnetic strip lock is used, the plastic card is inserted into a card reader and the card’s magnetic strip runs over a sensor that reads the contents of the strip. The strip’s contents are compared with those stored locally in the lock or the contents in a central system, which can be contacted via hardwired connections or various radio wave frequencies. As an extra layer of security, some magnetic strip locks include a traditional key to be sued in the event of a power loss.