In our modern world, key card door locks have become a prevalent method of securing access to various establishments. These electronic locking systems utilize plastic cards with magnetic stripes or embedded microchips to grant entry to secure areas. But what happens when you find yourself locked out and in need of access? In this article, we will delve into all parts of key card locks, explore the reasons one might need to bypass them, and discuss the details of how to bypass a key card lock.

However, it is crucial to note that unauthorized bypassing is both illegal and unethical. It is always recommended to seek professional assistance from a reputable locksmith or relevant authorities. Now, let’s dive in and explore the world of key card locks and the art of bypassing them, all while keeping security at the forefront of our minds.

Key card door locks are an electronic locking system that uses plastic cards, typically equipped with a magnetic stripe or embedded microchip, to grant access to secure areas. In general, all you need to do is hold the key card and swipe or insert it into the lock to initiate the recognition process. Once recognized, you can simply turn the door handle and open the lock.

There are two types of key card door lock security systems: magnetic strip card systems and RFID proximity card systems. These systems are widely used in hotels, offices, and other commercial buildings.

How does a hotel key card lock work?

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The working principle of a key card lock involves a combination of physical and electronic components. It cannot function independently and requires the use of the entire system. The following tools are typically involved:

  • Key card programmer (also named key card encoder)
  • Key card lock system software
  • Blank cards
  • Computer

First, you need to connect the key card programmer to the computer and place a blank card on the programmer. Then, open the key card lock system software to set the access permissions for your card and send them to the card.

When you bring the programmed key card near the key card reader of the door lock and perform the card insertion or swiping action, the lock will verify the authenticity and validity of the card. If the card is valid, the lock will activate the electric motor to unlock the door mechanism.

Can I bypass my key card lock?

All locks can be bypassed, but the difference lies in whether it is difficult or easy to do so. However, please note that any unauthorized bypass of a key card lock is illegal and unethical. If you have lost your key or left it inside the room, you may try to bypass your key card lock.

However, without the proper tools and knowledge of lock picking, it is strongly recommended to seek guidance and assistance from a professional and reputable locksmith or relevant authorities.

Furthermore, if you bypass your key card lock using the non-destructive techniques mentioned in this article, it is recommended that you replace it right away with a more secure, high-quality lock.

Why is there a need to bypass a key card lock?

Is it necessary to know how to bypass a key card lock? In general, two types of people would be interested in bypassing a key card lock: homeowners or hotel guests who have lost their key card, and those with malicious intent who try to bypass it.

Regardless of the reasons why someone needs to bypass a key card lock, our ultimate goal is to understand these methods and find ways to prevent such bypasses from happening.

How to bypass a key card lock?

a. Non-destructive bypass methods

Master card

A master card is a key that opens all door locks within the same system. There is usually a master card in every card access control system for emergency unlocking. It is commonly found in hotel door lock systems, apartment door lock systems, and similar systems.

To unlock a door with a master card, you simply need to obtain it from the administrator. You then swipe it at the door, just like using your regular room card.

However, administrators typically don’t provide the master card without a valid reason. It’s more likely that they will help you open your door instead of handing over the card to you.

Another situation is when the security level of the key card lock you are using is not high enough. Skilled hackers can reprogram a regular room card they find and create a new master card to open all door locks in a building.

Credit card

First, please refer to the following image and video:

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Yes, you read it right. It’s that simple. Some older mechanical locks and key card locks can be easily bypassed using a credit card.

First, open your wallet and find a credit card, debit card, or similar card less valuable. Insert the card into the gap between the door and the door frame, locate the latch position, and slide the card up and down. When you feel the bolt sliding backward, the door lock should open.

However, it’s imperative to note that a credit card can only open spring bolts and won’t work on deadbolts. To counter this unlocking method, you can simply replace the lock with one that has a deadbolt and remember to double-lock the door when you leave.

Plastic cards

Regular plastic cards can also be used to bypass your key card lock. As shown in the image, create a hole of suitable size in the plastic card. Then insert the card into the gap between the door and the frame, move it to the position of the door handle, and gently pull the card to open the door.

This method usually works on locks without a deadbolt and you can open the door just simply pull down the handle from the inside. Although it’s convenient, it’s highly insecure.

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Tripaw tool

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The principle of using a tripaw tool to open a door is similar to using a plastic card, where you pull down the handle to open the door. However, this method is usually used on doors with peepholes.

First, you need to remove the peephole from the door, creating a hole large enough for the tool access. Then insert the tripaw tool through the peephole, move it to the position of the door handle, and manipulate the handle to open the door.

K22 Kydex door opening tool

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This tool can bypass any door lock that can be opened by pulling down the handle. It looks like a fishing hook, with one side resembling a rod and the other a string. It is the fastest and simplest method to open commercial lever locks.

Put the tool through the bottom door gap, and swing it to the door handle position. Open the door by pulling down the rod.


This technique is mainly applicable to key card locks with mechanical keyholes. First, take out a hairpin and adjust its shape to better fit into the door lock keyhole, and manipulate the pins inside.

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Slowly insert the hairpin into the keyhole, then gradually adjust its position so that all the pins align horizontally. This will allow the key to turn and unlock the door.

b. Destructive bypass methods


Lock picking and lock bumping

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Lock picking and lock bumping are generally considered forceful unlocking. These methods are typically used for emergency unlocking or when the lock cannot be opened normally. Various forceful tools are used to damage the lock body and the pins or tumblers within the lock cylinder to unlock.

Forceful lock opening methods are time-consuming and produce noticeable noise, which may attract neighbors’ attention. Therefore, criminals rarely use forceful lock opening to break into a property for theft purposes.

How to avoid bypassing a key card lock?

The most effective way to avoid bypassing is to change to a reliable smart lock. Nowadays, smart locks are becoming increasingly popular as they provide a cutting-edge unlocking experience but also enhance building security. Smart locks are known for convenience, speed, intelligence, and safety.

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So, how do smart locks ensure our safety? Many smart door locks on the market have a free-handle design. This is where the interior button needs to be pressed while simultaneously pulling down the handle to retract the latch. This effectively prevents lock-picking techniques and unauthorized unlocking by children indoors. Additionally, smart door locks have lock cylinders of Grade C, with a technical opening time exceeding 270 minutes. This makes it more difficult to bypass technically.

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YGS smart locks also incorporate multiple security mechanisms to provide peace of mind during your journey.

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  • Hidden keyhole design prevents unauthorized individuals from finding the lock hole, making technical unlocking impossible.
  • Multiple alarms and remote monitoring assist users to check the status of the electronic lock at any time.
  • The anti-friction latch locks the door automatically when closed. By lifting the handle, the deadbolt extends to increase the level of security.
  • Manual knob to extend and retract the secure deadbolt, increasing the security lever of the door lock with double lock extend.
  • Multiple unlocking methods are available, including key cards, fingerprints, passwords, and mechanical keys for unlocking, etc.

  • Free handle design prevents accidental unlocking or intentional bypassing.

  • With a super C-grade anti-theft lock cylinder, the difficulty of technical unlocking is doubled, providing higher security performance.

  • Emergency charging is allowed, eliminating the risk of smart locks not working due to battery runouts.


Any door can be bypassed if we choose the right tools, just invest some time and patience. However, in terms of security, we still recommend seeking the assistance of a professional locksmith to solve your problem.

If you clicked on this article to find ways to minimize bypassing, the edgest way is to use a smart lock with a more sturdy and durable design. While we cannot wholly prevent bypassing, we can make it more difficult and time-consuming, allowing us more time to detect and stop it. If you would like to learn more about selecting a suitable smart lock, please read our article: how to pick a hotel door lock?

As one of the world’s Top 20 smart lock brands, YGS takes you to discover the pinnacle of smart lock innovation. If you have any questions or crave further insights into the realm of smart locks, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly or simply click here and follow us for the latest smart lock blog updates and news!

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With more than 20 years of smart lock experience, YGS could provide a set of hotel door lock management solutions for your hotel business.

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