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Credentials for your leisure facility

Credentials for your leisure facility – important?

Often when looking at an access control project credentials are the last thing that is thought about. A credential is the generic term for the thing that allows your customers in through the access control i.e. an RFID card or bar coded card. In this article we are going to explore the benefits and drawbacks of different types of credentials that are used in our target sector, the leisure industry. The leisure industry is a good example of where companies sell access control but don’t discuss the credentials options with their potential customer. The main forms of credentials used in the leisure industry are:

  • Barcode
  • QR Code
  • Magstripe Cards
  • RFID Cards, fob and wristbands
  • Pin
  • Finger Print
  • Mobile Phones (RFID, bar codes and QR codes)


Barcode is the most common form of access usually on a PVC card. Barcode is cheap technology and can also be used on mobile phones.


  • One of the cheapest forms of credential
  • Widely used across the industry


  • Cannot easily be integrated with other equipment such as lockers
  • Not always easy to scan as you have to get the barcode in the correct position
  • Easy to copy

QR Code

A QR code is a version of a bar code but is much more reliably read and is less easy to copy.


  • One of the cheapest forms of credential
  • Becoming more widely known especially in the form of QR codes generated ‘on the fly’ as a single use credential


  • Cannot easily be integrated with other equipment such as lockers
  • Easier to copy
credentials pvc cards

Magstripe cards

Magstripe cards were very common for leisure facilities. They are a cheap technology and very reliable. However with Barcode being cheaper technology and RFID being able to be integrated with more products, magstripe cards are becoming less common.


  • A cheap form of access
  • A very stable technology


  • Cannot be easily be integrated with other equipment such as lockers
  • Not always easy to scan as you have to swipe the whole magstripe
  • It takes longer to scan the magstripe so usually takes longer to get into the facility
  • Fairly easy to copy

RFID Cards, fob and wristbands

RFID technology is really starting to break though in the leisure industry. They are quick and easy to scan and can be used on a variety of different parts of the leisure facility such as the lockers, vending machines and fitness equipment. However, they are still a more costly option than barcode, pin or magstripe.


  • Quick access as the card just has to be close to the reader
  • Easy to integrate with other parts of the Leisure facility such as lockers, EPOS and gym equipment
  • Different options of credential such as wristbands and fobs
  • Not easy to copy
  • Excellent for brand awareness as customer could be wearing a wristband with your logo


  • More expensive than other technologies
  • Still requires a physical device that you must have with you


This can be a unique number given to each individual, a number given to groups of individuals such as staff or to certain specific parts of the leisure facility (staff areas) or even used in conjunction with another credential such as RFID to create a higher level of security.


  • One of the cheapest form of access
  • You don’t have to carry anything with you
  • Very reliable technology as there is less to go wrong


  • Can be easily passed around so people can enter the facility for free
  • No brand awareness as the clients don’t have a wristband or card
  • People can forget their number

Finger print

Finger print technology has had a mixed press. On the one hand the credential costs nothing (most readers are quite expensive though) and on the other the customer experience isn’t great. Added to that that it requires quite a complex integration process in order to work with the software you are using so may not be available anyway.


  • One of the cheapest form of access
  • The customer will never forget their finger unlike a pin code or card


  • Not very reliable
  • Not every person has a finger print (according to research between 2% and 4% of the population)
  • Some customers are nervous that their fingerprint id is stored on a database

The Future – NBIOT

All Right Now are currently working with some major Telecomms companies to develop a new form of credential using the Bluetooth on your phone and the mobile telephone network. It’s called Narrow Band Internet of Things (NBIOT) and could revolutionise access to a leisure facility as you wouldn’t even need to swipe near a reader. We are very excited by this technology and please contact us if you are interesting in finding out more about it.

In summary we at All Right Now think that credentials should be one of the main considerations when installing access control at a leisure facility. We discuss the options with the client to come up with the most appropriate solution for them. No credential solution will fit all and, as you see above, all have their advantages and drawbacks. All Right Now are always looking for inventive ways to maximise your credentials such as multiple technologies on one card or advising on new parts of the leisure facility that you could use the credential.

Ben Dawes ,  Business Development Manager, All Right Now Ltd