What is electronic “live scan” fingerprint scanning?

Electric fingerprint scan

Last updated on December 6th, 2023 at 12:34 pm

Live scan fingerprint scanning is an electronic method for capturing fingerprints. Fingerprints are required for:

  • Government background checks
  • Adoption applications
  • Construction industry licensing
  • Insurance
  • Business applications
  • Social services
  • State and federal employment in sensitive industries
  • Law enforcement applications
  • Legal work
  • Transportation employment
  • Firearms purchase
  • TSA Precheck, TWIC, HAZMAT and other certifications
  • And more

Historically, fingerprints were taken using an ink pad. Ink was applied to the finger and then the print was rolled onto cardstock. As you can imagine this process was messy, prone to smudges, and especially time-consuming if multiple copies of fingerprints needed to be sent to different agencies or retained for any reason. 

Live scan fingerprinting machines, such as the Integrated Biometrics Kojak, have totally changed the game. The fingerprint scanner has a small screen made of LES sensor film that is hyper-sensitive and only responds to human skin. The fingerprint is captured electronically. With a live scan fingerprinting machine there is no ink, and instead, the scanned fingerprints are printed on the card directly from the computer or a PDF file. 

Kojak is an industry favorite because it is basically smudge-proof, so it does not require rigorous cleaning between prints and it can perform in direct sunlight. It uses a metal bar across the bottom of the screen to know when to start scanning, by creating an electrical connection that tells the machine when it’s time to start scanning. 

Benefits of live scan fingerprint scanning:

  • No need for messy ink
  • Errors and smudges can be redone with a single click. With ink-based fingerprints, the entire card will have to be redone from scratch.
  • Fingerprinting machines are resistant to smudges, oils, and dirt – hands do not need to be as rigorously cleaned before beginning the scanning proces
  • Ink fingerprints require manually guiding the fingers on the page. This requires someone to physically manipulate the hands of the person being scanned. With live fingerprint scanning, the user can scan each fingerprint themselves.
  • Live scans fingerprint scanning works better with the small percentage of the population who have difficult-to-read fingerprints
  • An overall faster process with minimal setup
  • Multiple copies of fingerprints can be printed from the same scan

What is needed to perform live scan fingerprinting?

  • Fingerprinting equipment such as the Kojak
  • A computer with at least a Quad-Core 64-Bit Processor, and at least 8GB of memory
  • VeriScan Desktop Plus or Enterprise
  • An FBI-approved printer such as the Lexmark MS421
  • FBI-approved cardstock for fingerprint submissions

You can use manual entry of ID information, however, using an ID scanner that includes ID authentication and ID parsing will save time and ensure that you’re scanning the right person’s fingerprints.

We believe live scan fingerprinting equipment will replace the need for ink-and-paper fingerprints in the near future. It is cleaner, more convenient, and saves time. Contact us for a demo of our fingerprint scan-to-print hardware and software bundles.