KeyMe offers a unique solution to the problem of lost keys. Their convenient kiosks provide an alternative to otherwise expensive locksmiths. Read on to learn how this service can save you time and money.
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What Is KeyMe?
KeyMe is a provider of what we’ll call digital locksmith services. Using 3D technology, they scan existing, physical keys to create exact, digital models of the key.
That digital model is used to create one or more physical copies of the key, which can be sent to anyone the user wants to grant property access to.
Founder and CEO Greg Marsh started the company in 2012 after he and his wife got locked out of their new home just days after moving to New York City.
Why Use KeyMe?
Among other challenges, real estate agents deal with frustrating lockouts and locksmith issues. That’s not surprising considering how many keys agents might juggle on a given day.
Each key can malfunction, get lost, or be stolen. Lockboxes are certainly one solution. However, over the years, theft and criminal misuse of the boxes have left a bad taste in the mouths of homeowners and agents alike.
KeyMe seeks to solve the problem – not just for realtors, but for anyone who gets locked out of a property they own or needs to provide multiple people entry to a property at different times.
How It Works
Let’s look at an example scenario to show how KeyMe works for real estate agents. A listing agent with a busy schedule can’t possibly attend every showing of the property he’s representing.
He needs a secure way to give buyers’ agents access to the property when he can’t be there. But this may involve interrupting schedules to pass the key back and forth between agents.
Or worse, leaving it unattended and “hidden” somewhere at the property, the listing agent goes to a KeyMe kiosk at the local Rite Aid to scan the key.
When the kiosk scans the key, it also gives the agent the option to save the key file in case it might be needed again. He saves the key file and shares it via email or text with the agent who is showing the home next.
When they’re ready to show the home, they can visit the closest KeyMe kiosk to have the key cut using the digital file.
KeyMe for Agents
Real estate agents and brokers can use KeyMe to give others access to properties, but is it secure, cost-effective, and convenient? We’ll explore KeyMe features, pricing, and pros and cons to help you decide if KeyMe is right for you.
KeyMe’s Best Features
These features are the cornerstones of KeyMe and its functionality. Discover what the kiosks and mobile app can do, their limitations, and how a real estate agent can make use of them.
If you ever visit an Albertsons, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kmart, Kroger, Mall of America, Rite Aid, Safeway, Sears, or 7-Eleven, you’ve probably seen one of the KeyMe kiosks.
They have more than 3,000 of these key-scanning and cutting stations around the United States. And they are always adding more.
They were the first kiosk to offer RFID key and vehicle key duplication, which gives them some credence in the industry.
The kiosks can accurately copy keys in less than 30 seconds, so you can have your copy made and be on your way quickly.
Copy RFID Keys
At the kiosk, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) keys can be scanned for duplication just like other keys, but they can’t be printed there. They will be sent to you in the mail within 3 to 5 business days.
You can choose from a key fob, an access card, or a sticker to insert the RFID code into. The coded sticker, which is about the size of a silver dollar, can be placed on a phone or wallet (or any item you’ll always have with you) to act as your key.
While the mobile app doesn’t have as much functionality as it did with the mobile key scan feature, it’s still a useful feature for real estate agents. The app enables you to keep a list of the digital key scans you have copies of so you can send access to other agents or print new copies of these keys at any time.
It will also help you locate the nearest kiosk if you need to print a copy of one of your saved keys (or make a copy of a physical key).
There are 2 ways to obtain a duplicate of a key using KeyMe:
- Get it instantly, from a kiosk
- Get it 3-5 business days later, through the mail
If you then decide to order physical copies of a kiosk-scanned key from the mobile app, you’ll get free shipping. You can use this feature to ship keys to yourself or others.
It takes a few days, but if the key isn’t needed right away, it’s a convenient option that gets the keys straight into the hands of those who need them.
Direct Locksmith Services
This feature isn’t available in all locations. Still, if you happen to be near New York City or Atlanta, Georgia, you can access direct locksmith services by calling KeyMe at 855-343-5776.
They will book a locksmith to come to your location for any of the following circumstances:
- Residential Lockouts — Metal doors, commercial lockouts, and deadbolt locks
- Lock installation and replacement — Top and bottom locks and deadbolts
- Commercial gate/shutter lock replacements –– Deadbolt, padlock, and electric locks
- Vehicle key duplication — Vehicle lockouts, key duplication (including push-to-start and key fobs) and vehicle key origination
Right now, these services are only available in:
- New York — Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, plus Nassau and Westchester counties
- Atlanta area — Dekalb, Cherokee, and Cobb counties
Removed KeyMe Features
If you’ve been thinking about using KeyMe for the mobile scan feature, there’s a bit of bad news.
The KeyMe app for iOS and Android devices, until recently, had a mobile key scan feature. This allowed users to take pictures of the key to be copied (both sides) on top of a white background to scan the shape of the key.
KeyMe would create a physical copy of the key from this “scan” and send it to the user in the mail. Unfortunately, the reviews weren’t good, and users complained that the keys they received were not identical to the originals and unusable.
The company removed this mobile scan feature in response. Now, they are focused on building more kiosk locations across the United States to replace the convenient functionality of the mobile scan.
Pricing varies because multiple styles and designs are offered for most key options. These are the averages, according to customers and the company’s frequently asked questions.
- House keys — $2.99 and up
- RFID access cards/fobs — $10.00 and up
- Vehicle keys — $20.00 – $90.00
- Locksmith services — Prices vary
Pros and Cons
As with any balanced review, it’s important to highlight both the pros and the cons. Don’t worry — we’ve done just that. Read on to learn what we like and dislike about KeyMe.
Pros (what we like)
- Accurate copies — 3D scans make copies 10 times more accurate so you can be sure the key will fit.
- 3,000 kiosks — Convenient locations all around the nation in stores and shops you already visit.
- Digital key file — Scan the key once and save; get access to later copy it with your fingerprint.
- Secure — Mailed keys arrive in RFID-blocking envelopes, and all kiosks require fingerprinting.
- No more lockouts — With a digital key file and direct locksmith services in certain locations, you’ll never be locked out of a property you’re showing or selling.
- More showings — Always have a digital copy of the key ready to send to a buyer’s agent when you can’t attend a showing.
Cons (what can be improved)
- Digital, to a point — There is no way to get an “instant” digital key – you have to either be near a kiosk to have one physically made, or wait for a key or RFID-enabled key fob, sticker, or access card to be shipped to you.
- Open to misuse — Someone could easily use it for nefarious reasons, and even the New York Times has reported on KeyMe’s potential security issues. Tenants can copy landlord keys, thieves can copy stolen house and car keys, and keys to educational buildings could be compromised.
- Kiosk limitations — You’ll have to mail-order all vehicle and high-security RFID keys because the kiosks can’t print them.
- Unclear speed of duplication — A customer service representative told us the following: “Our regular house brass keys are usually done on the spot within 5 minutes. Now, the key fobs or access cards…with expected delivery within 3-5 business days from the order date.”
Weighing the pros and cons, KeyMe isn’t a terrible option for real estate agents. Still, it’s lacking something most real estate professionals value above all else: Ease of use and convenience.
Because the mobile scan feature, which allowed users to scan their key from a smartphone, is no longer offered, you have to go to an existing kiosk to scan the key in question.
You then have to wait up to 5 minutes for a physical copy to be made. If there are multiple keys you need to be duplicated, you could be in for quite a wait. If it’s an RFID key, you’ll have to wait for the key to be mailed to you up to 5 business days later.
On the other hand, using a kiosk to make a copy of a key is undoubtedly easier than going to a locksmith or an employee-run key-cutting machine every time you need one.
Should You Use KeyMe?
This service does provide a solution for real estate agents who are sick of passing keys back and forth with other agents for showings.
But there’s still a high degree of planning and preparation (scanning the key in advance, saving the key file, sending to each showing agent, and requiring them to visit a kiosk to print it) to give someone else access.
If that sounds inconvenient or time-consuming, you might be better off using a wireless lockbox instead.