It’s late at night and you just got home. Suddenly, you realized you forgot your keys, your doors are locked and thus, can’t get inside your house.
We all experience those times when we forget or lose our keys at home. Don't worry though as there are many DIY options you can do to bypass a door lock without the need to call a professional. However, they depend on the type of door lock you have. For example, a traditional slanted-latch lock is easier to open than a deadbolt lock.
In this article, I’ll share with you how to open a simple door lock using a card. However, take note that any information in this article should not be used to illegally break into somebody’s house. This is a skill we want you to learn so that you can unlock a door during an emergency. Plus, understanding how the method works will also help you know how to defeat it (and prevent any burglars from using this technique to break inside your home).
How It Works
Ideal Card to Use
As mentioned above, simple door locks are much easier to bypass than a deadbolt lock. A door lock with a slanted latch can be opened using a card. A deadbolt can not be bypassed with a card since it uses a rod which can only be retracted by using a key.
Using a card to open a door will only work if the slant of the latch faces towards you. You will know this if the hinges of the door are located on the opposite side. Otherwise, you will need to remove the hinges to open the door.
Also, you can use the card technique to open a door lock if there are no excessive molding or metal plates that block the crack of the door. This way, you can easily slide the card in between the small opening and reach the strike plate.
Some DIY tutorials will teach you how to open a simple door lock using a credit card. In my opinion, this is not going to be a great idea since the technique requires you to wiggle and bend the card to reach the strike plate. You don’t want to do that to your precious credit card otherwise you risk breaking it in the process.
Instead, use other less valuable cards that are lightweight and flexible. For example, use empty or expired gift cards, insurance cards, or membership cards to do the trick. If you don’t have cards, you can cut a small strip from a plastic bottle instead.
How to Unlock A Door Using A Card
So you have a simple door lock with the latch facing towards you, a small opening between the door with little blocking in it, and a card. You can easily open the door by following the simple steps below:
- Slightly insert the card between the cracks of the door. Make sure that the card is straightened and perpendicular to the door. Aim to hit the strike plate using the edge of the card.
- Slide the card further inside by bending it and pushing it a little more towards the doorknob.
- Bend the card on the opposite side to reach the angled end of the slanted latch.
- Wiggle the card back and forth to pick the door lock. If you’re having difficulty to pop the door open, try to lean against the door while bending and wiggling the card to apply more pressure on the latch. Do this until the door opens.
How to Prevent Your Locked Door From Being Opened With A Credit Card
Now that you know how a simple door lock can be bypassed using a credit card, there are ways you can do to prevent burglars from using this same method to break into and have access to your house.
Installing A Door Latch Guard
A door latch guard is a metal plate that covers exposed latches and prevents a credit card to be inserted between the door and the frame. Installing this will help prevent someone from tampering with your door lock.
Installing An Electronic Door Lock
One advantage of an electronic door lock is that you only need a code to gain entry, unlike a traditional door lock that requires a key to open. Only those who know the code can unlock your doors.
Installing A Sliding Door Latch
A sliding door latch is composed of a long metal bar which, unlike a simple lock, cannot be easily moved away or pushed aside with a credit card.
Installing A Deadbolt Lock
Unlike an ordinary lock, using a deadbolt is more secure and cannot be easily opened using a credit card. This lock uses a long piece of metal that is inserted into the door frame. If you already have a door lock installed, adding a deadbolt will increase the level of security of your home.
The video below shows how you can prevent your door lock from being opened with a credit card.
You can also check out our post how to fortify a door to increase your defense against burglaries.
Wrapping things up
Learning how to open a simple door lock using a card is a basic skill you can use in times of emergency where you need to access your home but you don't have your keys. However, this technique will not work if the door uses a deadbolt lock or if the slanted latch of the door lock is not easily accessible.
It really is important to know the type of door locks you have in your home and if it is enough to prevent burglars from getting inside any given time.
We hope that you find this article helpful. If you do have questions or suggestions, please leave them on the comments section below!
Hi, I’m Christy, and I’m an electronics engineer by profession. I have taught in a university for 2 years while pursuing my master’s degree in cognitive radio and worked for a company to develop wireless medical devices. Currently, I’m doing research for a doctorate degree in engineering using a wireless sensor network for smart agriculture. I’ve been active in our local IoT community, IoT Cebu, where I participate in conducting talks about Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and DIY home automation using Wi-Fi and ZigBee devices.