Why traditional access control is so expensive - and how Nexkey is different

Security is a top priority for every type of business, mom-and-pop to large corporations. Yet most of the time, businesses will still resort to keys and leave themselves vulnerable, but why? Traditional access control is just simply too expensive and becomes unattainable to most of us.

Even if you are making some room in the budget, when you look into what is needed to get an access control system, you may think you jumped back in time. Do I really need a computer onsite for software updates, and wiring through the entire building to control all my doors on a browser? Soon enough, you end up with a quote for $28,000 for 7 doors and your jaw drops.

Why are the costs of traditional access control so high and what are the main drivers driving these costs up? Most importantly, how do you get around them?


Keycard systems are by far the most expensive access control you can buy - largely due to the hardware you need to purchase upfront. Most hardware is purchased through an OEM, like HID, so solution providers don’t have control over the costs. Costs go up and up, and they have no choice but to increase their own prices.

The complexity of installing a traditional access control system

The complexity of installing a traditional access control system

These systems are complex and all parts need to be compatible which first requires replacing door hardware like the strike or lock for it to work. The keycards then need to communicate with a reader installed locally at the door, which is wired to a large controller box to control about 2 doors. The controllers connect to a main access control panel to link all doors. This panel can reach over $1000 alone. Wiring and power throughout the building is a huge cost to connect the entire system. It is worth noting, keycards become an ongoing cost because they are often lost/not returned and need to be replaced. You get the point - costs add up fast!

How to get around it? Buy a solution that requires less hardware and doesn’t sell through traditional channels. Nexkey works with only one smart access device locally at the door. No additional hardware is required to control multiple doors on one platform, and you can keep your existing door hardware. Nexkey also designs their own hardware and goes directly to you - take out the middleman and the cost savings will be reflected. Lastly, you can skip the budget for keycards since you don’t need any. Everyone already has a phone which becomes their key.


If there is a wildcard in the physical security world, it is the cost of software. It is extremely difficult to define what you are actually spending on software. Sometimes it is hidden in the hardware costs, offered in software packages, or you may pay per feature, but you’ll pay one way or another. The software is not what drives up the costs, it is the support required to keep you updated.

Every time someone comes out to your space to update the software, it costs you. Most access control systems still rely on having to go onsite with a computer preloaded with software to manually update all the devices.

Ongoing maintenance is a must. You are stuck paying for these updates because a lot of providers will go so far as to not provide support if you have an outdated version of software or hardware.

The future is over-the-air updates. Not having someone be there for hours updating the system will save a lot. With the more modern approach Nexkey is implementing, through a system of one smart access device and app connected to the cloud, there is no need to wait for someone to come onsite for updates.


This biggest cost driver for traditional access control is the installation costs. It is not something you can do yourself and many people are often involved. Depending on what type of doors you have, you will most likely work with a locksmith, system integrator, electrician, and other skilled professionals, each with their own quotes (which can take weeks to even get).

Complex installations common with traditional access control are holding the industry back. End users are blindly introduced to these platforms implementing the cloud and new devices, but if you dig into the actual hardware and installations for most systems, not much has changed.

It can take days to properly install an entire system. This flawed process involves installing cluttered systems filled with wiring throughout the building, multiple electrical components and outdated equipment like access control panels or clunky controllers. Installation costs can equal and even double the hardware costs.

The biggest cost saver with Nexkey is the installation costs. Nexkey is challenging the access control industry by eliminating these complex installations so every business can afford access control. Only one device needs to be installed at the door, and little to no wiring is required so installation takes hours not days.

Hidden Costs

With traditional access control, hidden costs like to present themselves along the way. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are creating a budget.

Time to Manage

Office managers need to spend time making keycards. Each minute to create a new keycard costs the company money. If a coworking space gains 50 new members every month. At $25 an hour and 3 minutes to reprogram each keycard, the business pays $62.50 every month - or $1.25 every new member.


Traditional access control is very complicated therefore you need someone who fully understands it. Either you need to hire an IT professional or train employees to be able to operate and manage the new system. Some access control trainings even require some travel.


Many access control providers unfortunately refuse to open their technology to partners to support integrations. Instead, they charge per device or client for the specific integration you are looking to implement whether it be connecting the platform to software you use daily or an alarm system. It’s extra. Talk to the Nexkey team about integrating the Nexkey API into your existing workflows.

Nexkey Smarter Access

Everyone has the right to affordable smart access control to protect their business regardless of size. That’s why Nexkey built a revolutionary smart access platform to change the flawed access control industry by eliminating complex installations, and outdated hardware and software. With Nexkey, you will pay ⅓ of the price of traditional access control. Talk to us today about smarter access to your business.