ID Card Scanners: How do they work?

If you run a club, a liquor store, or give a service to customers that require checking ID cards, you need an ID card scanner. Although there are systems like ‘Flag‘ that will help you detect forged ID cards, one can never be sure of the card’s credibility.

But before you go and buy one, here are a few things you should know about the ID card scanners.

What is an ID card scanner?

An ID card scanner is an electronic device that is used to read data on an ID card. An ID card scanner can read different barcodes, MRZ codes, and OCR and turn them into meaningful data. The ID card scanner may have a barcode reader or a magnetic stripe reader and sometimes both.

The primary purpose of the ID card scanners is to verify the age of an individual. The bouncer, bartender, or employee can decide if the person is eligible to buy the age-regulated product.


The ID scanner also detects that the ID card given by an individual is authentic or fake. Online markets have made it effortless for any teenager in the USA to buy a fake ID. While these are the fundamental purposes of an ID card scanner, it also has its advantages. Here are some:

Fake ID Reduction & Data Safety

If a shop owner or employee does not detect a fake ID, there are chances that they can serve alcohol to minors. This can result in fines, or their license can be revoked. The ID scanners will ensure that the right person is served.

The data that the shop or club collects via ID scanners also has demographic information that can be used to make effective marketing strategies. 

Reduced Crime

Clubs that are open late night are always at considerable risk. Risk involves people fighting or consuming illegal items on the premises of the club. The ID card scanner saves data of scanned cards. Hence, people who create mischief can be identified, and their details can be handed over to the police. This way, people are more careful about their actions in the club.

Scanning devices have helped club owners save time, and shop owners avoid getting fined or fooled. These sophisticated machines enable business to even detect the advanced scannable fake IDs.

Types of ID scanners 

Before you decide to buy an ID card scanner, you need to know about their types. There are two different types, and each has a specific function.

1. Barcode ID Scanners

If you are looking to buy a scanner to ‘verify the age‘ of an individual by their ID card, then this is one here perfect for you.

Barcode scanners scan the 2D barcode on the back of identity cards. The 2D barcode contains information about the individual ID holder. Once the card is scanned, the scanner will decode the data in the 2D barcode and display it.

There are three different types of barcode ID scanners.

  • Handheld barcode ID scanner
  • Stationery barcode ID scanner
  • Applications in a smartphone that scan barcode

You can use whichever barcode ID scanner you feel is most convenient for your business. However, many customers feel unsafe when they see an employee using a smartphone to scan their ID cards. A handheld or stationary barcode ID scanner will look professional, and the customer will be at ease.

The barcode ID scanner will notify you if the scanned through is expired or if the individual is not of valid age to entre a club, buy alcohol, or do whatever age-restricted service you are providing.

There is a green ‘√’ sign that comes up on the screen if the individual is liable by age to get the age-restricted service. If not, there is a red ‘X’ sign comes on the screen.

Barcode scanners are perfect for clubs and bars. Bouncers and servers can quickly check the ID without having to spend too much time on one patron, and it is more accurate than visual inspection.

Most tickets a shop or club receives are because minors get access to age-restricted products/services due to the employer’s miscalculations. A barcode ID scanner will significantly reduce the chances of these mistakes happening again.

The barcode ID scanner can also catch forged ID cards. They will detect low-quality fake ID cards with incorrect data, or no data in the barcode of the card. However, the barcode ID scanner will not be able to catch the high-quality fake IDs because they have the correct data encoded on the card’s barcodes.

They look authentic and also mimic hidden security features of real ID cards. Hence, some high-quality fake ID holders might be entering your club or buying an age-restricted product from you.

2. Forensic ID Scanners

This scanner is also known as ‘box scanner‘ given its large size. They are the latest scanners in the market and can detect the highest quality forgeries.

The forensic scanners have a library of 1,500 authentic documents and licenses. This device’s software compares the scanned ID features (design and security) against the original ID features.

It checks the holograms, OCR, UV, and microprint. Almost all features are reviewed in detail before declaring the ID as fake or authentic. If the ID fails the test, the machine will also display the elements it reports as forged or missing in the scanned ID card.

Meanwhile, a forensic scanner is the best ID scanner in the market. There are still chances that a person who is not allowed to buy or enter can get access.

They can use their older brother or sister’s authentic ID, and the checker might not notice because almost all siblings have similar physical features.

ID scanners on the market: Features and Prices 

Here is a list of some of the best fake ID card scanners and what they offer you.

1. Age Visor Touch ID Scanner by Token Works




  • If you own a liquor store, then this countertop barcode scanner is the best choice for you. This 7 x7 device will occupy a small space on your countertop. The device can be used as soon as it is out of the box– no set up required.
  • When you check an ID, you won’t have to press any buttons as the ID scanner is motion-activated. The scanner will give you audible alarms if the individual is not age-appropriate or is trying to provide you with a fake ID.
  • The device can store data of 1 million+ customers, and you can also tag the customer’s data. It will notify you if the client that has come to your shop is banned, VIP, or a loyal customer.
  • This way, you can deal with them accordingly. Also, developers at Tokenworks are continuously updating their software. You will also get software updates, updated driver license formats, and software features for free.

2. Quantum Handheld ID Scanner by IDETECT




  • The Quantum handheld ID scanner scans the 2D barcode on ID cards. It decodes the information on the barcode on displays it on the screen. The information displayed will be the card holder’s name, DOB, age, last visit, and tag.
  • The icons on the screen will tell the checker if the individual is okay or not. They are prominently displayed on the screen. The scanner will also determine if the ID card is fake or has been tampered with.
  • The scanner is mobile and has a rugged design that will survive the wear and tear of daily use. The scanner also keeps a record of customers, and if a customer that is tagged a ‘troublemaker‘ or ‘fake ID holder‘ enters the system, the owner will be notified immediately. 
  • This scanner is perfect for bars that have to deal with the rush of patrons on weekends.

3. Ayline App

This app enables a person in authority to scan IDs cards, passports, and license plates with a smartphone. The app can be used anywhere and anytime. It is 20 times faster than manual data entry and supports iOS, Android, Win UWP, Xamarin, Cordova, ReactNative interfaces.

The data on the app is completely secured as it stays in a closed system. There are no third-party clouds involved. It is location and connection independent, and captures data on the card, including the verification image.  

The Australian police department has adopted the app because of its ease of use and accuracy. The app can be custom-built to suit your ID scanning needs.


4. IDVISOR Smart Plus by Tokenworks 




  • This ID scanner has all the smart features needed in an ID scanner. The features are a 5-inch LCD touch screen, verbal and audible warnings, customer relationship management features (tagging them as VIP or banned), and a database management feature.
  • It reads all Canadian, US, and military IDs within one second. If there are format updates of cards, your software will also be updated for free. The battery of the device will easily last a full night, so you don’t have to worry about recharge on a busy Saturday night!
  • The ID scanner is reliable and durable. This one purchase can save the owner from hefty fines and license cancellations.


Fake IDs have become a massive problem for business owners. ID scanners are not a luxury but a necessity. The $1000 device can save you from a fine of $3000, loss of business days, and the hassle to get a new license after the previous one is revoked. It is a small investment which will help you in numerous ways.

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