What Are the Different Types of Clock in Clock Out Systems?

A time clock is an essential tool for monitoring employee attendance and work time. In addition to tracking time and attendance, a timekeeping system allows employers to keep track of their teams productivity and identify late workers and frequent time-off users. It also helps with payroll, billing, and tracking the location of employees. 


In the past, the time tracking method was limited to a physical hardware punching machine. Employees would waste precious time standing in line waiting to clock in or out for the day, but there are many modern software tools to choose from now.


In this article, we’ll look at the most common types of clock in clock-out systems and the pros and cons of each.


Proximity Time Clock

A proximity time clock works by using RFID (Radio-frequency identification) readers to automatically record a person’s time and save it to a centralized system. Users don’t have to keep their credentials or log on to a computer to access the data. Instead, they can simply wave their badge in front of the reader to clock in or out or check the number of hours they’ve worked. 



A proximity time clock is an excellent option for those who work in environments where many employees are clocking in or out from a centralized device. Let’s take a look at the main pros of the system.


  • Easy To Use: The main benefit of using a proximity clock in clock out system is that it’s straightforward to use. Employees walk up to a centralized device and scan their prox card to clock in or out. There are also options to automatically clock an employee in and out when they arrive or leave a specific location! 


  • Quick Implementation: Another benefit of using a proximity time clock is that it’s easy to implement at your business. It just requires the hardware to scan badges and then badges for each worker—both of which are usually provided by the time clock vendor. 



While proximity time clocks can be a good option for tracking time and attendance, they come with some cons that should be considered. 


  • Potential For Fraud: The most significant drawback of using a proximity time clock is the increased potential for time theft. Employees can share their prox cards and punch time for their co-workers resulting in inflated labor costs.


  • Hassle To Maintain: While setting up a proximity time clock is simple, maintaining the machine and employee badges can be time-consuming and expensive. If the machine breaks down, your time clock vendor would have to come on-site to fix it—typically resulting in quite a hefty charge. 


The main advantages of proximity time clocks include speed and convenience. If you work in an on-site environment where workers clock in and out simultaneously, then this time clock might be the best choice for you.


Mobile Time Clock

A mobile time clock is the most popular type of clock in clock out system as it’s the most flexible. A mobile time clock is one that employees can download to their mobile phones or tablets. Once installed, employees can track time from any permitted internet-connected device.



Mobile time clocks come with many benefits, but the following two features are great for remote companies who want to ensure employees do what they’re supposed to while on the clock.

  • Flexible Access: Mobile time-clock solutions are incredibly convenient. They allow employees to access their accounts from any device with the internet. They can work on their own schedule while still meeting their objectives.

  • Accurate Location Tracking: The ability to accurately track your team’s locations is another great benefit of a mobile time card. You can easily see where your employees have been working and on which job at any time and from any device.


While mobile employee time tracking software is popular amongst small and large businesses, it isn’t without fault.


  • Requires Stable Internet: The most significant advantage of using a mobile time clock is its most significant disadvantage. If an employee is without an internet connection, they will not be able to log in or track their time. This means management has to intervene, resulting in wasted resources.

  • Potentially Costly: If your business allows employees to use their own devices, then the cost to implement is average. However, if you have to purchase and maintain devices for your workers, this can quickly become expensive.  


Time and attendance apps are a powerful, easy-to-use tool for managers and employees. They allow workers to punch in and out using their smartphones or tablet. By sending all information to central cloud storage, management can easily track employee attendance, overtime, and leave hours. 


Biometric Time Clock

If you’re a business owner looking to cut costs and increase security, biometric time clock software may be the answer. A biometric time clock is a clock in clock out system that records time by recognizing an individual’s unique identifiers, such as fingerprints or facial features. 



A biometric times clock is an excellent option for businesses that work with sensitive data or materials and need to verify identity before tracking time. Here are a few other pros! 


  • Eliminate Time Theft: The main advantage of using biometric time clocks is eliminating the issue of buddy punching and time theft. Employees can’t pad their hours since, to track time, they must first verify their identity, which they can’t falsify.

  • Simple To Track Time: Biometric time clocks are simple to use as the only thing the employee needs to track time is themself! They don’t have to worry about remembering a username/password or carrying around RFID tags.



While biometric time clocks are a comprehensive and secure time tracking system, they are not without their drawbacks. 


  • Privacy Concerns: While biometric time clocks are incredibly secure, some employees might not be comfortable repeatedly scanning and storing their biometric data. To avoid these issues, you should always ensure that your employees consent before installing one of these systems.

  • The Most Costly: Biometric devices, such as fingerprint readers or face scanners, are costly— in terms of money and morale. Several biometric devices would need to be purchased if you have multiple locations. As far as morale, using a biometric time clock can feel like an invasion of privacy, resulting in poor employee-employer relations.


While biometric employee time tracking systems are more expensive than the other systems mentioned, the benefits are clear—they can help you keep track of employees’ time and attendance and avoid unnecessary labor expenses.


When deciding which online timecard system is best for your business, you need to consider your unique needs. Each business has a different work environment, so a clock-in clock-out system that works well for one company may not be the best choice for another.

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