5 Most Innovative Alternatives to Traditional Punch Card Systems

Punch cards became a primary method of accessing premises or time tracking since introduction. However, they incurred hefty machinery installation costs and required supervision from security personnel.

Even the HR and office administration staff soon feared the misuse of punch cards for time theft, overtime, buddy punching, etc., resulting in higher payments for non-working hours. 

Today, many market-oriented solutions streamline attendance and access while avoiding such issues. We will uncover them in this blog and show you the best solution for your organization.

5 Alternatives to Punch Cards That You Could Trust!

1. Face Recognition

According to Statista, “the market size in the Facial Recognition market is projected to reach US$5.71bn in 2024.” One of its growing applications is seen across corporates and educational organizations to mark the attendance of employees, students, or teachers and facilitate visitor access management.

The report also mentions that the growth is attributed to the growing demand for security and surveillance. It will most likely also impact the retail, banking, and healthcare sectors in the upcoming years.

Face recognition supported with liveness detection, geolocation, and geofencing as an introductory module can deliver accurate time and attendance reports and assure the presence of the actual user at the designated location. Therefore, we have kept it at the top of the list.

2. Key or PIN Code Lock System

Another common alternative to the punch card system is a key or PIN lock system, wherein the user enters a code to get access to the premises. Unfortunately, it is not cost-effective for small and medium enterprises and requires installation at multiple points within a single office to grant secure premise access.

The hardware system may even demand regular replacement costs whenever it stops working. The average cost of PIN lock systems ranges up to $900 (approx. Rs 75,000) per door. 

Moreover, the risk of doors getting jammed, forgetting a PIN, not receiving a PIN for a premise door on time, etc., always remains a hurdle for employees whenever they need to schedule meetings with visitors.

3. Geo Attendance

Another new-age method of time and attendance management is geo attendance, wherein a user’s device helps to mark the check-in and check-out. Such systems don’t offer much “trust” to the HR and administrative staff, as any colleague can carry the device, especially if it is not personal, to a designated location and mark attendance or availability at the premises.

However, it can prove significantly effective if geo attendance is marked involving face recognition, including factors like the purpose of visit for employees visiting offsite locations. Moreover, the people in charge of overlooking the time and attendance dashboard can sit back and relax without worrying about buddy punching or time theft.

4. Biometric Machines

The usage of biometric machines has become prominent across industries, especially wherein the demand for remote workers is peaking because it enables the physical tracking of employees.

Biometric machines used to be one of the safest and most trustworthy systems until they became vulnerable to tampering or spoofing. Today, one can easily find methods of forging biometric hardware. 

Even if they don’t, they can simply state that the machine is not working, and the supervisor simply marks the attendance from the backend at will. So, the reliability of such machines is decreasing day by day.

5. Proximity Cards

A proximity card simply marks the attendance or grants access whenever it is near a machine that recognizes it. Many companies attach it to the identity card and rely on the fact that it will perform its job at will. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work fast enough, and demands closeness to the machinery. As a result, it can create queues and result in long waiting times. On the other hand, the HR and administration staff can expect high regularization requests because it may fail to capture the time if the employee simply walks by the machinery.

Verdict: Face Recognition with Passive Liveness Detection

Face recognition with passive liveness, geolocation, and geofencing is the most apt choice for time and attendance tracking. Such a system can drastically reduce the workload off the shoulders of the HR and office administration professionals while providing a sense of accurate timestamps to the end users.

Moreover, it will eliminate the risk of buddy punching, time theft, and paying employees for non-working hours. Additionally, it will involve complete transparency between the management and the users. 

In schools, such a time and attendance system can eliminate the risk of class bunking and result in higher attendance, as it will demand the physical face recognition of the registered student. Unlike other modern systems, this solution is more reliable in many ways.

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Punch cards have been significant in time and attendance management since their introduction. However, their usability will soon become obsolete because newer alternatives provide higher reliability and accuracy.

Moreover, the new-age systems reduce the workload of the HR and administration professionals by reducing the need for constant regularization, issuing new physical passes, and adding more information to the system.

All of this has been streamlined through the existing alternatives of punch cards. However, amongst all of them, we prefer to secure a face recognition system, as they solve many problems besides those which worry the office staff the most.