Technology

Key copies are served up quickly at high-tech kiosks

A KeyMe kiosk stands at the entrance of the Rite Aid store at 2101 S St. in midtown Sacramento. It can copy a key on-site and store a digital copy of a key in the cloud.
A KeyMe kiosk stands at the entrance of the Rite Aid store at 2101 S St. in midtown Sacramento. It can copy a key on-site and store a digital copy of a key in the cloud. mglover@sacbee.com

A 4-year-old New York company that claims to be “revolutionizing the locksmith industry” is installing key-copying kiosks at retail stores throughout the Sacramento area.

KeyMe’s slim kiosks, about six feet tall, enable users to store a “digital copy” of their door keys in the cloud and create a spare key – starting at $3.99 – in less than 30 seconds.

KeyMe plans more than 100 kiosks in the greater Sacramento region, including Vacaville, Grass Valley and Yuba City.

KeyMe also is touting what it says is an unprecedented option: the ability to copy car keys at a self-service kiosk. For years, people who have lost car keys have obtained replacements from an auto dealer or manufacturer.

KeyMe says its technology can scan car keys at a kiosk, read the transponder and ship a copy in less than two days. Prices start at $14.99 for nontransponder keys and $69.99 for transponder keys.

Eight kiosks have been installed in Safeway, Rite Aid and Bed Bath & Beyond stores in Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Roseville and Rocklin.

A user’s fingerprint is required to access a virtual key and a detailed transaction history and a financial paper trail for every key made. KeyMe does not store information linking a given key with a specific location or lock, and mailing addresses are deleted once an order has shipped.

The company says its kiosks – which started appearing in the eastern U.S. in 2013 and have spread westward – can negate “frustrating and expensive lockouts” and provide backup security that can be done quickly and stored permanently.

KeyMe’s regional expansion is part of a larger company effort to add more than 3,000 kiosks nationwide by the end of 2017, concentrating on major metro markets. The company said kiosks will be at 7-Eleven, Albertsons, Kmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement and Sears stores.

KeyMe ultimately plans to have more than 100 kiosks installed in the Sacramento region, extending to Vacaville, Grass Valley and Yuba City.

“To date, we have saved our customers hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency lockout fees. With our new kiosk, we will make it even easier to get a highly accurate copy of any key type, including car and house keys, in the most convenient, secure way possible,” said KeyMe CEO and founder Greg Marsh.

Once an original key is inserted into a kiosk, a copy can be cut within seconds, with the copy dropped into a slot similar to a change-return slot on a vending machine.

Keys also can be ordered and stored in the cloud, then accessed and printed at a kiosk at any KeyMe kiosk nationwide.

The kiosks also can be integrated with a free mobile app.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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