Identification scanner. Barcode scanner ID card. ID scanner machine. These all sound very technical or almost like science fiction to some, but in fact, an identification scanner is very much a commonplace piece of hardware for many different sectors, ranging from retail to airports to voting sites. Today, the exchange of information, while often done by a person reading the contents of a piece of paper, must also involve an identification scanner of some sort so that a person’s information can be read and confirmed by a program. This can be done at retail, for example, where an identification scanner will simply read the magnetic stripe on a person’s credit card or debit card so that a purchase can be made instead of with cash. Another type of identification scanner may be the one that scans a person’s voting ballot and adds the information to upload their votes. And in other cases, such as an an airport, a traveler’s photo ID or their passport may be viewed by an identification scanner, or even a handheld ID scanner used by an employee on site. There is nearly an endless application of such scanner machines, and they can make the transmission and collection of data and money much faster and easier than if they were absent. The industries listed above often benefit from them the most. How might this work?
Retail and Scanners
Ever since the latter half of the 20th century, and so far into the 21st, credit card and debit cards, and often gift cards, are essential for how American consumers today spend their money, and they can be very convenient for spending large amounts of money on items or for preventing the clutter of paper bills on their person. Most Americans make use of such technology; about seven in 10 Americans owns a credit card, and back in 2014, a survey showed that 43% of respondents prefer to make their purchases with a debit card, and 35% prefer to make their purchases with a credit card. How they work is this: the magnetic strip that can be found on such cards, or ID cards, can contain the personal details such as the holder’s name and an account number. Such magnetic strips can hold as many as 60 characters magnetically, and these cards can be swiped or scanned at retailers ranging from a fast food restaurant to a clothing store to the grocery store. Some newer debit card also have security chips for added protection of the user’s information, and these chips can be inserted into chip readers that some retailers have at the cash register.
Such cards are a real boon for those who have large amounts of money but don’t want to carry it around as cash, and these cards can also be useful for making online purchases too. E-commerce has become big in recent years, where customers view online catalogs and make their purchases entirely through the Internet. But buying something via e-commerce does not work with cash; there is no slot in the consumer’s computer to insert paper bills for payment. Instead, a debit or credit card can be used, and the purchaser can enter his or her card information online and complete the transaction. Even gift cards can be used in this way, and a person can build his or her credit score by getting a credit card and using it while also making payments on time. And a good credit score offers many advantages of its own, such as house mortgage rates.
Scanning is useful not only for credit cards or passports, but paper documents at the office, too. Excess paper at the office leads to lost documents (which are expensive to replace) and increased odds of a fire, not to mention all the room that these documents take up. Scanner companies can scan copies of all these documents and upload them to the data server or Cloud storage, and the papers can be shredded and recycled. This saves space, protects the documents from theft, and allows remote workers to access them through the Internet, which can be a real boon for remote workers or those who work at home.