Why are mobile credentials so important in access control?

mobile credentials

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Mobile credentials play a pivotal role in the access control ecosystem, reports Keri Systems.

Access control systems are an essential part of most modern businesses and organisations.

They provide security and peace of mind by restricting access to areas, equipment and information.

Traditionally, access control systems relied on physical access cards or key fobs to authenticate users and grant access.

However, with the rise of smartphones, mobile credentials are rapidly replacing traditional physical access cards, and for good reason, too.

Mobile credentials leverage smartphones to provide secure authentication and facilitate the integration of access control with digital wallets.

They offer several advantages, including robust encryption and multi-factor authentication, making smartphones one of the most secure forms of identification.

These credentials can be rapidly issued to new employees or tenants, regardless of their physical presence.

They can be securely pushed to the recipient from anywhere worldwide, as long as there is internet connectivity.

There are a host of advantages to using mobile credentials to enhance or replace traditional identification methods.


One of the main benefits of mobile credentials is their convenience.

Users can easily access their mobile credentials through their smartphones, eliminating the need for physical access cards or key fobs.

This makes it easier for businesses to manage access control, as they can issue and revoke mobile credentials remotely.

This is especially important in today’s increasingly mobile workforce, where employees often move between locations.

There is also an element of sustainability as you are no longer using disposable manufactured plastic credentials.


Mobile credentials are also incredibly secure and “hack” resistant.

When using a mobile credential, modern smartphones already provide multi-factor login; for instance, a fingerprint, facial scan or PIN code to unlock the phone before pushing the mobile credential from the phone to the reader, ensuring only authorised users are granted access.

Smartphones typically leverage the latest encryption methodologies for additional security.

This makes them ideal for businesses that deal with sensitive information or operate in high security environments.

Additionally, because mobile credentials are stored on smartphones, they are less susceptible to loss or theft than traditional physical access cards and cannot be shared or duplicated as a physical credential might.


Near real time issuance of credentials to new employees or tenants, irrespective of whether they are present, can be done with mobile credentials.

When coupled with a cloud-based access control SaaS, a mobile credential can be pushed out to the recipient from anywhere in the world, as long as there is internet connectivity.

Nothing more than a phone number is needed to push a mobile credential out to a user.

Mobile credentials can be used over multiple sites and are often seamlessly integrated as part of a multi-function app and a SaaS offering, particularly for multi-family and multi-tenant business applications.

And, they can be used as temporary credentials, issued to a vendor or tradesperson for a day, then revoked and reused by another at a future date.


Mobile credentials allow better enforcement of identification, making it more challenging to share access rights with unauthorised individuals.

This helps to prevent breaches, as it ensures that only authorised individuals are granted access to restricted areas or information.

This is important for businesses that deal with sensitive information or operate in high security environments.

It is also much better for the enforcement of identification (meaning someone else isn’t using an ID credential); it’s far less convenient to hand someone a phone for long term access rights than to provide someone with an ID card or tag.


Although the fees imposed by Apple and Google for access control usage of mobile credentials may seem challenging for some businesses and organisations, it is important to remember the many benefits that mobile credentials offer.

With mobile credentials, businesses can experience improved security, enhanced convenience and cost savings in the long run.

Despite the fees, the adoption of mobile credentials is still a smart investment that can provide businesses with a competitive edge and streamline their operations.

Mobile credentials do, however, offer an excellent opportunity for security installers to increase their recurring revenue by providing the credential on a SaaS product such as Borealis.

This replaces a one-time sale of a physical credential with a software-based product with a recurring revenue stream.

This can be a significant source of revenue for security installers, as they can charge a recurring fee for each user who accesses the system through their mobile credential.

This is an excellent opportunity for the installer to retain credential revenue that would be lost to some OEMs or card bureaus selling physical credentials directly to the end user.

There are lower operating costs as there are no physical cards or fobs to issue or to replace when lost.

People are much less likely to lose their phones as people are typically zealous about keeping their phones on or near their bodies.

And from an installation point of view, you may be able to replace existing readers with new mobile credential readers without needing to change any cabling.

Scalability and flexibility

Mobile credentials are scalable, making them an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes.

They can be rapidly issued to new employees or tenants, regardless of their physical presence.

They can be securely pushed to the recipient from anywhere worldwide, as long as there is internet connectivity. This makes it easy for businesses to scale their access control systems as their needs evolve.

In addition to scalability, mobile credentials also offer greater flexibility than traditional access cards.

They can be easily customised to meet the needs of individuals or groups of users and can be configured to grant access to specific areas or equipment.

This level of customisation is not possible with traditional access cards, which are typically limited to a single level of access.

There is the possibility of using one mobile credential with multiple access and security systems and even integration with other systems such as payment systems depending upon the application.

User experience

Finally, mobile credentials offer a more streamlined and efficient access control experience for users.

With traditional access cards, users may often need to swipe their card or fob multiple times to gain access to different areas or equipment.

With mobile credentials, users can easily access all of their credentials through their smartphone, eliminating the need for multiple cards or fobs.

This can save time and reduce frustration for users while also improving the overall user experience.

Mobile credentials are easy to use.

Open the app and, depending upon the app’s design, either present your cellphone to a reader to be recognised or press a button within the app to unlock the door.

Mobile credentials appeal to a younger staff who may have always had a cellphone with them.

There is also the potential for mass notification to all app users, whether it is a simple reminder for an upcoming holiday or to notify staff in the event of an emergency or such.

Mobile credentials: In conclusion

Mobile credentials, when used in conjunction with cloud-based access control offerings, provide security installers with the best opportunity to transform their revenue model from one-time sales to recurring software charges.

While there are some upfront costs associated with using mobile credentials, the long term benefits in terms of convenience, security and scalability make them an excellent investment for businesses of all sizes.

By leveraging the latest encryption and multi-factor authentication technologies, businesses can ensure that only authorised users are granted access while also streamlining the access control experience for users.

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