Clark Howard

New Amazon service allows couriers to unlock your front door and leave packages inside

Having a stranger in your home when you're not there may have been the first thing you thought of when you heard about Amazon's new plan to have delivery-people access your residence to leave packages.

Amazon Key gives couriers access to unlock your front door

Amazon has also introduced Cloud Cam, its new security camera. Amazon Key requires both the camera and a smart lock.

Here’s an overview of the process: Amazon authorizes the delivery, unlocks the door and sends you a notification that the delivery is being made. You also get a confirmation once the package is safely inside and the door is relocked. The Cloud Cam will turn on every time an in-house delivery is made — so you can watch the delivery live or view a clip of it later.

RELATED: 6 ways to stop package thieves from striking your home

How does it work?

“Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home — Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time — through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed — Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked,” Amazon said in a statement.

So, basically once Amazon has verified the driver and delivery address, customers will get a notification of the delivery and when they should expect a courier to arrive. Another notification will also be sent once the driver has arrived. With the Cloud Cam being activated each time a door is unlocked, customers will then be able to see the delivery on the Cloud Cam live — which is good for those who may be a bit skeptical about the process.

RELATED: Start planning now for military holiday shipping deadlines

What’s the cost?

Although Amazon Key represents a new way to stop “porch pirates” — thieves who target packages on your front door — money expert Clark Howard has discussed other ways to protect your belongings without having to dig too deep in your wallet, like using Package Guard.

So let’s break down the cost for both.

Amazon Key's complete home kit includes Cloud Cam and a smart lock, starting at $249 for Prime members. Non-Prime members would pay the cost for the kit and the membership separately — which is $99 a year. Cloud Cams can be sold separately for $120 — but Amazon says it will be much cheaper to buy the bundle, according to the Verge.

Unlike Amazon Key, Package Guard is a single Wi-Fi enabled device that is designed to protect unattended packages from porch pirates. The device alerts you when a package has been delivered and sets off an alarm if anyone tries to steal your package. Package Guard will retail for $89 and can be pre-ordered now for $69.

Both Amazon Key and Package Guard are good for protecting your packages — it just depends on which one you feel more comfortable with or which is better for your wallet.

RELATED: Target brings back free shipping for the holidays + weekend sales