Credit Card vs Debit Card

Credit Card vs Debit Card, this has been debated before and there are pros and cons to both types of cards. Let’s take a look at both cards, but before we do, a lot of what is in this article depends on your own self-control. If you can control your use of credit cards then what you read below applies. If you can’t control your use of credit cards or you think of credit cards as cash, then you should lean more towards debit cards in most purchases.

Credit Card vs Debit CardI will start by asking what might be obvious to most: Did you ever wonder why when you open a new checking account the bank falls over itself giving you a debit card? That is because this card is tied directly to your checking account and in some cases you savings account also. The bank makes a large amount of money charging for overdraft protection and on overdraft fees just to name a couple.

When you try and get a credit card you must fill out a credit application and depending on your credit score the issuing bank or financial institution might send you a card. If they do a credit limit will be attached, which means you cannot charge over that credit amount. You will get a bill once a month that should be paid within the terms.

If you have a dispute with a merchant both types of cards offer a way to resolve that dispute. With the debit card the merchant usually already has your money. With a credit card many times the card company will freeze the amount in dispute until resolved. This means that the merchant does not have your money. Let’s say that you charge a vacation through a travel agent and that company goes bankrupt before your vacation begins. With a debit card the money is taken from your account almost immediately the bank will probably put your money back into your account, but it could take some time. With a credit card nothing is taken from your account.

Credit Card vs Debit CardIn the case of your card number being stolen, you are protected with both types of cards, however in the case of a debit card it could be weeks before your money is put back into your account. With a credit card you simply don’t pay those charges. So in the debate of Credit Card vs Debit Card, which is the best for you?

As I said in the beginning of this Blog if you can control your use of credit cards, then professionals would say that they offer you the best protection.

Visit us on-line at Locking Systems International.

Lockable Key Rings Provides Key Control

Lockable Key Rings secure your keys on either a flexible or solid ring.  The ring is locked by a standard type cam lock in an aluminum housing.  The main reason that you use this type of device is Key Control.  I have discussed key control in past blogs; without some type of key control you do not have a secure lock.  Key control is the most important part of a locking system; however, it is often the most overlooked.

Lockable Key Rings-Provides Key ControlKeys are put on the lockable key ring and it is locked preventing removal of the keys unless the lock is opened.  To remove the keys, the key ring lock needs to be opened by authorized personnel with the proper key.  All the keys are held together and cannot be taken off the key ring.  This provides key control as someone can’t “lose” one key.  If the cable is cut that would indicate possible compromise of any locks that those keys open.

The rings come in either flexible stainless steel cable available in 4 different sizes: 6,8,12 and 18 inch or solid stainless cable in 5 different sizes: 1.5,2.5,3,4 and 5 inch.  The lock body is made of aluminum that is covered with a protective polyurethane boot available in 15 different colors.  There is also of choice of locks.

Features of Lockable Key Rings:

  • Available in 4 sizes of flexible stainless steel or 5 sizes of solid stainless steel rings
  • 15 different colors of protective boots
  • Choice of locks
  • Aluminum lock body

Lockable Key RingsThere are a number of locks available to lock the key ring.  The choice of the lock will be dependent on what the keys are securing and the value.  The locks available are from medium security to high security.  They can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed.  It is advisable to key these locks all different or in some cases master keyed.

Type of Locks Available:

  • Cobra 7 (patented protection)
  • CobraMatic 7 (8-change lock)
  • Medeco high security lock
  • Abloy high security lock (environmental protection)

So, where would lockable key rings be used?  Anywhere keys must be controlled.  I will list a few examples of where these are used today.

Possible uses for tamper evident key rings:

  • Vending and laundry routes
  • Military facilities and government agencies
  • Prisons, armored cars and security services
  • Casinos, hospitals and universities

As you can see from the above list, they can be used anywhere that needs a tamper evident key control system to restrict access and prevent unauthorized key removal.

To find out more go to LsiDepot.com or call 800.657.5625.

Utility Locks and Single Bitted Locks

Utility Locks should be very familiar to us, these are locks that are used every day. Some examples of Utility Locks are cabinet locks, locker locks, tool box locks, storage locks and mailbox locks. Utility LocksThese are just a few examples to get you thinking about the uses for these types of locks. One of the biggest examples is the single bitted or SB Cobra locks. These are very inexpensive to manufacture and sell from $2.50 to $3.50 per lock.

SB Utility Lock Features:

  • Usually made of a zinc alloy through a di-casting process
  • Is usually sold with two keys and a locking cam for one low price
  • Is available with a stainless steel cap in different colors
  • Dust cover
  • Can be keyed alike or keyed different
  • Comes in five or six different lengths
  • Cuts are on one side of the key

Cobra Utility LockThe basic design of the SB Utility Lock is a cam lock. However this type of lock can be made into different designs such as cabinet, display case or locker locks. They can also be incorporated directly into many other types of devices made by any manufacturer. An example of this is the “paddle handle” found on the storage (basement) doors on RV’s. The lock is incorporated into the handle itself.

Not all cabinet, locker or storage locks are utility locks. They might have been upgraded to a higher security such as a push button or electronic lock. Most times the actual item will be sold with a traditional mechanical utility lock. The end user then will decide if this is enough security, if not most items can be upgraded to a higher security lock.

As stated earlier cam and utility locks are often used to describe the same lock. This is not accurate as cam locks are a complete lock category to themselves. They have many different designs and security levels all the way to electronic cam locks. Cam locks can be used as utility locks, however some utility locks cannot be used in the place of a cam lock.

Cobra Utility Group LocksI think that in the security industry you will find many different terms that mean the same thing. I don’t think that this is meant to confuse the consumer, but it is an industry that has gone through many different versions of the same lock, sometimes identifying them by different names. In many instances this is done for marketing purposes to show a new lock (that looks like the older lock) is better, more secure or for some other reason.

To find out more about these Locks contact Locking Systems International.

Patented Locks-What Are They?

What are Patented Locks and what do they mean to you? The simple answer to that question is it’s a lock that has a patent. This is a very simple answer indeed. There are two patents that a company could win on a product. A design patent is where the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) awarded a design patent on the shape of the product. The second is a utility patent, this is much stronger, and it is awarded on how the product works and functions.

Cobra Patented Locks

Cobra-7 Key

For example, a design patent could be awarded on a key with a square bow (the part you hold), but someone else could design a key with a round bow, effectively going around this design patent. In a utility patent one could be awarded based on how the key fits into the lock and how it interacts with the locking pins. A different design of the key would still violate this patent. This is because in this case how the key works to open the lock was protected, in other words the concept not the design of the key.

In practical everyday use lock manufacturers will design “keyways” which is the way the key fits into the lock and how it interacts with the locking pins. Locks that have these types of patents are typically called high security locks. They offer a high level of key control because the manufacturers are able to control the use and distribution of their key blanks.

So far I have been talking about mechanical locks, electronic locks also provide a very high level of key control and they also have utility patents. However, they are different in that the actual electronic circuit is being protected as well as the concept on how that circuit controls the mechanical part of the lock to open the door. The “key” for an electronic lock could be a card, secret push button code or your fingerprint.

Medeco Patented LocksNot all locks that we use in our everyday lives need to have this level of key control or be called Patented Locks. It all depends on what or who we are trying to protect and how much we are willing to spend. I have blogged about this in the past, but I think that it should be repeated. In the case of a business: how much is business disruption or your products worth? In the case of your home: how much is the protection of your stuff and your family worth?

Only you can answer these questions.

Locking Systems International holds several utility lock patents and sells Patented Locks from our LsiDepot web site. We also represent both Abloy and Medeco, both are holders of many lock patents. Contact us at 800.657.LOCK (5625) or click on one of the links above.

 

Padlock – How to Choose the Right Padlock

This sounds easy. Go to your favorite big box store, find their padlock section, pick out your padlock and pay for it. So how exactly did you choose your padlock, was it the packaging, did you get a BOGO or maybe the packaging said “Strong Indestructible Padlock”. Whatever your decision making process, it was probably based on padlock display and convenience. This is the wrong way to select any type of lock.

Choosing Cobra PadlocksIf you read any of my articles and blogs I have said many times with either choosing a lock or the cost of a lock, “What are you going to protect and how much are they or it worth to you”. Choosing a padlock would be now different. For example, if you are buying one to put on a shed where you keep your lawnmower, then going to a big box store would be the perfect place to buy it.

If, however, you are buying a padlock to put on a storage shed where you might have stored valuables either in dollar value or sentimental value, then a more secure padlock might be the right choice.

Don’t get the wrong impression, there is nothing wrong with padlocks from big box stores. However, you should be aware of what you are buying. Most big box stores order padlocks direct from the manufacturers with certain key codes. For example, at big box stores you might find padlocks packaged in groups of 4,6 or eight padlocks all keyed alike (same key opens all of the locks). Or you might find a letter or number code on the packaging. Just find the packages with that same code and they will be keyed alike. All of this sounds convenient, except someone else can buy a lock with the same code, then their key can open your locks.

Cobra 8200 Padlock Pack

Padlocks Custom Assembled

So, if you decide that the padlock you need should be a higher security, you need to locate an Authorized Service Center, such as Locking Systems International. There you will be able to purchase padlocks that are custom to you. The lock codes will be registered to you; you will be able to buy the exact number of padlocks that you require. You will also be able to purchase a high security or electronic padlock.

So after you ask yourself the “What are you going to protect” question, I hope that this Blog helps you go about choosing your padlock.

For additional information go to LsiDepot.com or Locking Systems International.

Home Automation – How Much Is Too Much?

Is it home automation or home invasion?  Before this became popular, home automation was done by a few companies that specialized in it or it was a DIY for the home owner.  In either case the home owner owned and controlled the system.

home automationToday everyone wants to get into home automation, your phone and cable company, cell phone provider, alarm system company and many others.  They all offer the same services: the ability to control things in your home through your smartphone or tablet.

I recently saw a TV commercial from my cable company showing how you could control or monitor things like your heat or air conditioner, an open door or window, garage door, what about the water, do you have a water leak in your laundry room, how about your hot water heater is it leaking, these are just a few thing that can be monitored.  What the commercial failed to say was that to monitor just the above items, all your windows and doors will have to be wired, sensors will have to be installed on your water heater and in your laundry room, you will have to get new thermostats and new fixtures for your sinks, showers and tubs.

So let’s say that you wanted this and had all the modifications made to your home, great, now you can control and monitor all those things from anywhere in the world.  I hope that this gives you peace of mind, but…let’s look at the dark side.

Whoever is providing the monitoring service for you will know what time you leave the house and what time you return.  How long did you stay in the shower this morning, what is your air or heat set to, how many times you do laundry, and how much electric do you use.  I think that you can see that for everything you have monitored that data will be stored somewhere and if it is stored it can be accessed…think NSA.

Now let’s talk about your cell phone or tablet that controls all of this home automation, are they secured, do you have internet security software installed and updated, do you have a plan ready in case you lose one.  What will you do if a bad guy steals your cell phone and now has the keys to your kingdom?

I am not saying that home automation is a bad thing, but sometimes we can take things too far too fast.  Slow down and think about what you really want.

For more information visit LockingSystems.com.

Holiday Safety Don’t be a Victim this Holiday Season

It seems like the Christmas shopping season starts earlier every year, and this year is no exception.  You are starting to see more TV commercials telling to you start shopping now to avoid the rush. Now is the time to think about Holiday Safety.

Practice Holiday SafetyAs the weeks toward the Holidays go by you will start to hear reports of people getting robbed or their cars getting broken into. You can avoid most of this by shopping online. Most of us still like to get into the Holiday spirit by going shopping and touching the merchandise, then when you spot something you get the satisfaction that you have it now!

So when shopping there are some things that you can do to practice Holiday Safety:

  • Park near the parking lot lights if you will be in the store at night
  • Park as close to the store as possible
  • Never leave anything of value visible in your car and make sure that you lock it
  • Go back and forth to your vehicle putting your bags in the trunk, do not carry out two handfuls of bags
  • When approaching your car be aware of your surroundings, if something or someone makes you feel unsafe, go back into the store and ask for help
  • Approach your vehicle from the back toward the front and look in the rear seat area
  • Once in your car “Lock The Door”

I think that most of this is just common sense; however, in the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season we sometimes forget the very basis of Holiday Safety.

When talking about Holiday Safety we need to mention the safety of your credit cards. I would not recommend anyone shop with a debit card. If lost or stolen the bad guys have direct access to your bank account. Credit cards are much more secure, you just have to be mindful of the money you run up on those credit cards. Remember that cash is always king.

When using your credit card try to keep it in your direct sight when giving it to the store clerk. Make sure you have it before leaving the counter. If you carry a purse carry it across your shoulder and make sure that it is closed and carry it so that the purse is in front not behind you. If you carry a wallet it should be in your front pocket.

We ay Locking Systems International hope you practice Holiday Safety and if we can help,please contact us at 1800.657.LOCK(5624).

Environmental Padlocks — Extreme Weather Padlocks

Extreme Weather PadlocksNot all padlocks function well in bad weather, think freezing temperatures, or salt air and water.  As the weather turns very extreme most “off the shelf” padlocks will fail to open or function properly.  So, is the solution to purchase very expensive padlocks?  The simple answer is no; however, Extreme Weather Padlocks that are designed to operate in extreme conditions tend to be priced higher than standard off the shelf padlocks.

Let’s take a look at what makes an Extreme Weather Padlocks:

  • Most are built out of high quality brass that is usually chrome plated
  • Hardened steel shackles available in different lengths
  • Protection of the lock cylinder
  • No pins or springs in the lock cylinder
  • Patented keyways and keys (this will provide the “high-security label)

Most padlocks operate by the key pushing the locking pins in an upward direction until they reach the “Sheer” line and the lock opens.  Springs provide a downward force on the pins.  This means of operation is fine for most normal weather conditions; however, when it turns extreme, the pins and springs can freeze or get dirt or other debris in the pin chambers.  When this happens the padlock jams and will no longer function.  This is when you see people heating their locks with a torch or squirting a solvent in the lock cylinder in an attempt to clean it out.

Extreme Weather padlocksExtreme Weather Padlocks do not have locking pins or springs.  They operate on a “disc rotating principle”.  The locking pins are replaced by discs; no springs are used or needed.  When the special key is inserted into the lock and turned the discs rotate to the open position determined by the cuts in the key.  These locks do not have individual pin cylinders; instead all of the discs are positioned on a sleeve.  This is the reason why extreme weather conditions do not have the same effect of these padlocks as they do on regular padlocks.

Most Extreme Weather Padlocks  have keyways that are protected by a patent.  This is so the keys can be controlled and sent to Locking Systems International to be cut and controlled to the end user.  These Extreme Weather Padlocks are referred to as “high or maximum security padlocks”.  They are not available from the big box stores and are only available from Locking Systems International who is under contract with the manufacturer.  As stated above, they cost more than standard padlocks, but in return you get a high quality padlock.

For additional information please contact us at 1.800.657.LOCK (5625) or LockingSystems.com.

Cabinet Locks From Mechanical to Electronic

Cabinet locks is a kind of a “Catch All” phrase for locks that lock up cabinets, desks, lockers, medical carts, drug cabinets, and rescue truck cabinets, just to name a few.  Now that you are thinking about cabinets, what type of locks will work?  There is a wide range from mechanical to push button to electronic cabinet locks.  All have their place depending on what you are securing and what type of access control you need.

Cabinet LocksFor your desk, a single bitted utility lock would work just fine; however, if you are locking up drugs in a hospital drug cabinet then you would want to use a high security lock or an electronic cabinet lock with access control.

Types of Cabinet Locks:

  • Single or double bitted
  • Tubular (uses round key-can be upgraded to a patented 7-sided key)
  • SFIC (small formatted removable core) provides security with quick rekeying capability
  • Mechanical high security (provides key control in a high security package)
  • Push button (can be mechanical or electronic with increased security as you step up to the electronic version)
  • Electronic (provides high security with access control-you control who has access into the cabinet and what times they have access)

These are the main types of Cabinet Locks.  There are many variants of each type of lock with the price increasing as you go from mechanical to electronic.

Push Button Cabinet LocksChoosing the right type of lock depends on what you are securing, you wouldn’t want to lock up drugs with a simple utility lock.  The same holds true with electronic locks it would be overkill to lock up hand tools with electronic locks.

Let’s look at another type of cabinet which is used to lock up user keys.  These electronic cabinets provide security to protect keys for all types of applications and all types of items and products.  The cabinet itself is usually locked with electronic locks with biometric entry.  To open the door you have to put in your access code, and then scan your finger print or even your eye.  Once inside, the electronics will track what key you remove and for how long you have it.

If you are securing many cabinets, say in a hospital setting, then it is best you use a lock service center such as Locking Systems International who can provide consulting services as well as helping with the lock selection and installation.  If you are only locking up a few cabinets then you should be able to purchase the locks and install them yourself.

For additional information please contact us at: LockingSystems.com.

Home Security It’s Time for Your Home Security Inventory

When discussing Home Security there are a lot of different factors to talk about. We will try and touch on the most common and the most important aspects of your Home Security. The most Home Securitycommon are door locks, alarm systems, the door itself, internet security, Wi-Fi security, social media security. There are more but these are the most important. You should consider all of them when taking your Home Security inventory.

Locks: Your door locks should be at least a grade 2 lock. You should take inventory of your keys, do you know how many you have and who has them. If not consider re-keying your locks to a new code. Deadbolt Locks should be on all exterior door and don’t forget the door from your garage into your house.

Alarm Systems: If you have an alarm system it does you no good if you don’t use it. Alarm systems can get very complex. You should have at least these basic options: your system should have an audible alarm at your house, it should be monitored by a central monitoring station, and have a cell backup. Your windows and doors should be monitored and you should have motion sensors. You should use it every time you leave your home as well as during the night.

DoArrow Home Securityors: All exterior doors should be solid either wood, steel or fiberglass. You can have great locks, but if someone can kick in the door they do you no good. Any solid doors should have a view hole so you can see who is at the door before you open it.

Garage Doors: Don’t neglect this door, make sure that your garage door opener has the latest revolving codes. Don’t leave your remote control in an unlocked vehicle. When you leave for vacation disconnect the garage door opener.

Internet and Wi-Fi Security: Make sure that your computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones have some type of internet security protection. This is especially important if you do any type of internet banking or investing. Any Wi-Fi connections should also be secured with the latest WAP2 protection and make sure that you use strong passwords. This is fast becoming one of the most important home security measures.

Push Button Home SecuritySocial Media Security: You shouldn’t advertise when you are not home or away on vacation. Your children should be told the importance of this. The last thing you want is to tell the burglars when the best time to break into your house is. Also monitor your children’s on line activities; there are a lot of people waiting to take advantage of them.

For additional information please go to Locking Systems.com or call us at 1.800.657.LOCK (5625).