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“Access Levels are used to restrict access to custom form field data. Higher access levels can access fields from lower levels. Superadmin has the highest access level (100). Public data is displayed at the lowest access level (0). Members have access level 10. Admin is access level 90 by default.”
Basically access levels are only used by custom form field and they’re a way of ordering roles.
So if a custom field is set to ‘can be accessed by members’, then it will be accessible to members AND any roles with a higher access level.