ID Scanner versus Business Card Scanner

What technology does an ID Scanner use?  Some believe a business card scanner is an ID Scanner, but if one looks at what the Police use in to read IDs, then its clear that a business card scanner is not appropriate for reading ID cards.  Its OK for reading business cards, but it has inherent limitations that only become clear after purchasing it.

Business card scanners have been around for years.  Manufacturers realized that they could also read drivers licenses so they started marketing them in this market.  But unlike business cards, drivers licenses and state issued IDs have machine-readable data stripes like bar-codes and magnetic stripes.  These machine-readable data stripes were designed to be read by computers.  They have redundant information and error correction embedded in the data to compensate for read errors caused by dirt and worn printing.  So the ID Scanners used by law enforcement read either the bar code or the magnetic stripe while business card scanners try to read the printed information on the front of the ID.

Business card scanners have no way to compensate for read errors thus they often can convert an “i” to a “1” / “L”, or a “0” into a “o”.  While this sort of error is fine when scanning business contacts into your computer, bars and night clubs can’t tolerate these errors when checking age nor can marketing firms who need accurate data.  Additionally, state issued IDs have protective overlays with reflective holograms, which makes reading the text of the front difficult for a machine.  The states due this because they expect the computers police use will be reading the machine-readable stripe and not the text on the front of the ID.

Not only are they more accurate than business card scanners, they are also much faster because true ID Scanners sends the decoded data to the PC while a business card scanner simply takes a photo and the decoding process is done in the PC which takes approximately 5 seconds.  That’s why over 5000 Royal Canadian Mounted police cruisers in Canada selected 2D bar code / magnetic stripe ID Scanners.

So if your in the market for a fast, accurate way to read state issued IDs or drivers licenses, then purchase an ID Scanner used by law enforcement.

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