ReadID demo app
The ReadID demo app (previously known as NFC Passport Reader) reads and verifies the RFID chip embedded in electronic passports and other ICAO compliant identity documents (ePassport, or, in ICAO Doc 9309 terminology, Machine Readable Travel Documents: MRTD). The app optically scans the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) to gain access to the embedded chip. It then reads the embedded chip and displays the biographical and biometric information of the document holder, as well as document information, after which security checks, such as Active Authentication, Document Signature Validation, and Country Signature Validation, are performed and detailed results are shown.
Download the demo app from Google Play to experience the features of our ReadID solution. The app is currently available for Android only. The app for iOS will be released when Apple makes suitable NFC functionalities available to third parties.
Why do you provide this demo app?
We do this to demonstrate the underlying ReadID software to read/verify the contactless chip in passports and similar identity documents. We license this underlying software to our customers, who can then build their own apps with this. Since this licensing pays our bills, we can provide the demo app for free and without advertisements.
Can I really use this app for, e.g., my work?
This version of the app is provided as-is and without warranty. We make no claims about its suitability for any particular purpose. We also want to emphasize that the country signature validation is limited to a static list of country (CSCA) certificates embedded in the app, and that this list may not be correct and complete.
The scan step (MRZ) fails, what can I do?
First, make sure the camera can clearly see the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ, the bottom 2 or 3 lines of the passport/identity card), taking care that there are no fingers in the way and that there is no glare of a lamp over the MRZ. Simply put, if you cannot see the MRZ, neither can our software. Tilting the passport a little often helps, or shielding the passport from the glare from a lamp. If this fails, you can always input the required information from the MRZ by hand, by tapping the button with a keyboard on it. In rare cases, the app may get the MRZ wrong, you can then use the same manual input mode to correct the information.
The read step (NFC) fails, what can I do?
If it keeps saying “Please hold the document against the back of your phone…”, then make sure you hold the phone directly onto the passport. Moving the passport around until you hear a beep often helps. Depending on your phone/tablet, the NFC antenna needs to be close to the passport antenna. Removing covers from the phone and/or passport may help, or holding the phone on the opened ‘main’ page of the passport.
Once you hear the beep, and the screen switches to a progress bar and “Accessing NFC Chip”, you need to hold the passport very still, so as not to disrupt the NFC connection. If you never get the beep, and remain stuck on “Please hold the document against the back of your phone…” forever, then make sure that your phone indeed has NFC (see separate question) and that NFC is not disabled, e.g., by trying out other NFC apps. Also, remove any covers from your phone and/or passport, if any, since they may block the RFID signal, and make sure that your passport or identity card has a contactless chip (see separate questions). In rare cases your phone may have NFC, but only support type a tags and your identity document may be type b.
Please be aware that the antenna in the U.S. electronic passport is located on the inside of the back cover. The booklet needs to be opened to access the chip.
Is my smartphone suitable for the demo app?
You need an Andoid (version 4.4 and up) smartphone or tablet, with NFC. We recommend 5.0 and above. Most mid-end and high-end smartphones have NFC, although not all lower-end smartphones do. More recent smartphones are more likely to have NFC than older phones. Beside the vendor of your smartphone, there are plenty of websites where you can find out if your phone has NFC (e.g., http://www.nfcworld.com/does-my-phone-have-nfc/), and there are even free apps with the sole function of letting you know if you have NFC.
Do you support iOS / iPhone?
The short answer is not yet. The long answer is that we were very happy when Apple introduced the iPhone 6 with NFC, and some iPads also have NFC. Starting iOS 11 iOS also provides the possible for third-party app developer to use this NFC capabilities by providing an API. Unfortunately, for now this API is limited to so-called NDEF tags, while to read ePassport chip we need to be able to read so-called ISO 14443 tags (a and b). We hope and think that Apple will make this possible at some point in the not-so-distant future.
We do have an iOS implementation for scanning the MRZ (machine readable zone), but not a public demo app for this. And we can use external NFC readers connected via Bluetooth or cable to an iPhone or iPad, contact if you have a use case for this.
How do I use the demo app?
There are basically two steps. The first is to scan the so-called Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) with the camera. The MRZ consists of the two or three lines at the bottom of the passport or identity card. We use OCR technology (that is, Optical Character Recognition) to read the card number, expiry date and date of birth. This is needed to read the contactless chip in the passport / identity card. After successfully scanning this information, you hold your passport / identity card to the back of your phone after which the contactless chip is read using NFC technology. The demo app shows what information is being read.
Does my passport have a contactless chip?
Most, but not all, countries issue identity document with contactless chips. In technical terms, most countries support ICAO 9303 e-Passports or electronic Machines Readable Travel Documents (eMRTD). There should be a chip logo on the passport cover and/or on the main page if your passport does have a contactless chip. You can check out our blog post, search online or contact your government.
Does my identity card have a ICAO compliant contactless chip?
This really varies per country. For example, the Netherlands, were we are from, does have an ICAO 9303 compliant chip. But Germany has a contactless chip, which is is not compliant. And some countries have identity cards without a chip or with a contact chip. Try searching online to find out what kind of chip your identity card has.
Why is my German NPA (identity card) not working?
Although the German eID (neuer Personalausweis, npa) is somewhat similar to the ICAO 9303 standard used for all passports and many identity cards, it is not compliant. We currently do not support the npa, although the German electronic passport is supported.
How long does the reading of a contactless chip take?
This depends on your phone and the speed of the chip in your identity document, but it typically takes about 8 seconds. Most of this time is spent reading the high-resolution photo. Other apps that use our underlying software may skip this step, to speed up the process considerably.
Can I export the data from my passport?
You can use the share function from Android to e-mail it to yourself. We currently do not limit how often you can do this, but keep in mind that this is a demo app. If you use it commercially and want different options to export the data, please contact us for a license for our underlying software.
Can I buy the app?
This is a demo app which we provide for free to demonstrate the capabilities of our underlying software. You can acquire a license for this underlying technology to build your own app, with the customer journey you want, and integrated into your own back-end systems.
Do you support U.S. Passport Card?
The U.S. Passport Card is not supported, because it is based on a different RFID technology that is not compatible with NFC, but U.S. electronic passports (booklets) are supported.
What personal information does the demo app store (privacy)?
The demo does not store any of the information that is scanned or read from the chip. As soon as you close the app, the information is deleted from your phone.
Do you support electronic driving licenses?
Yes we do! We support ISO18013 compliant electronic driving licenses. Please be aware not many countries have those. We've only tested this (at moment of writing) with Dutch driving licenses.
What information does the demo app send to InnoValor Software or third parties (privacy)?
We value your privacy and do not collect your personal information. For details, see our privacy statement on the demo app.
Which standards do you support?
The short answer is the ICAO 9303 eMRTD standard and the ISO18013 standard (electronic driving licenses). For a longer answer, see the Product Overview
Can I acquire a license to the underlying software to make my own app?
Yes, you can! Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are known issues or limitations with the demo app?
- With specific smartphones (e.g. LG Nexus 4) there are sometimes problems when reading certain identity documents, specifically on Active Authentication. In general, newer smartphones work better than older.
- Some identity documents will temporarily block access after repeated access attempts with incorrect BAC credentials.
- Country signature validation is limited to a static list of publicly available country (CSCA) certificates embedded in the app.
If I have a feature request, where can I send this?
We would love to hear it, please e-mail it to email@example.com. Do keep in mind that the demo app is a free app, we may decide not to add your feature or, if we do, it may take a while. Of course, if we get repeated requests for the same feature, this is likely to get priority. As do feature requests by paying customers.
I love the demo app, how can I thank you?
Tell your friends, and give us a maximum rating in the Google Play Store.
Where do I report a bug?
We hate bugs, but are eager to get bug reports. For us to be able to fix them, we need specifics like what passport (country, generation), phone details and where the bug appeared. To help you report bugs, we added a Debug Mode to the demo app. Simply go to settings and enable it. Every screen will get a “report bug” option at the top right of the screen, you can click it to e-mail us the debug log. You can e-mail the bug report to firstname.lastname@example.org.
None of the answers above helps me, what do I do now?
You can contact us via email@example.com.