KYC AML Guide: the Clock shows the average reeding time of the blog08 min Read


KYC AML Guide: the Clock shows the average reeding time of the blogJanuary 11, 2024

How Does the Biometric Fingerprint System Work?

Biometric fingerprint is a unique feature of each person and no two people are alike in their fingerprints. Fingerprint biometrics are used for authentication that matches a person's biometric template and identity verification such as(determining personal identity. Biometrics are the unique characters of a person that are used to verify and confirm the identity of the person. Other forms of biometric identifiers are facial recognition, iris scanning, and DNA. Fingerprint biometrics are widespread, easy to use, efficient, cost-effective, difficult to forge, and convenient, making them a safe and useful tool for identity verification and authentication.

Belal Mahmoud

KYC Product Consultant

The History of Biometric Fingerprint

Since 2000 BC, fingerprints have existed as biometric data. Back then they were used in business transactions as a form of signature. In 1964, the first real scientific paper attempting to study the unique structure of fingerprints was published. Jan Purkinje, a scientist, developed the first fingerprint classification system in 1823. Fingerprint verification processes have been used to track criminals by law enforcement agencies in the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. The FBI developed the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), to automate fingerprint searches at all levels of law enforcement. It has enhanced capabilities to capture, match, and identify individuals worldwide.

How Does Fingerprint Recognition Work?

Fingerprint recognition is also known as fingerprint biometrics. It uses the unique characteristics of a human fingerprint. A human fingerprint represents a pattern of ridges, arches, and lines that is unique to the individual as a whole.

Also Read: How Does Biometrics Voice Recognition Work?

The uniqueness of biometric fingerprints is a cornerstone of police media and law enforcement. Forensic experts have found no two identical fingerprints even for identical twins till 2022. Therefore, the fingerprint verification process is an excellent feature of biometric identification verification. However, with the evolution of sophisticated and widely available modern fingerprint scanning technology, it is relatively easy to find, integrate, and use into a security system.

How Fingerprint Recognition Works?

How does fingerprinting work? The fingerprint verification process consists of four main steps:


Clients initially need to be onboard to benefit from fingerprint recognition. In the first place, the client collaborates with the gadget to give finger impression data through the fingerprint reader. Frequently to get a precise image of the pattern on it the client examines their finger over and again on the scanner. The given finger impression data is placed into a biometric schematic on the backend. This information portrayal can be utilized as a kind of reference point from now on. For future reference, the template is saved in the data set.


Users place their finger on a fingerprint reader to access systems and devices that support fingerprint scanning. There are currently four types of biometric fingerprint scanners

1. Optical Scanner As the name recommends, optical scanners make a picture of a unique finger impression put on a glass plate utilizing visible light. The inverted image is then processed to represent the fingerprint. These biometric fingerprint scan are inexpensive and accurate.

Note: It is very important to keep the surface clean for accurate performance.

2. Capacitive Scanner Small electrical charges are used to charge fingerprints in the capacitive scanner. To precisely show the unique finger impression it utilizes the capacitive capability of the human body against air space between the edges. They are more sensitive than the optical ones. They are resistant to fraud since the fraudsters can’t utilize prosthetics.
3. Thermal Scanner Similar to capacitive scanners, thermal scanners make use of heat. Because of the temperature distinction between the fingerprint parts, the scanner can precisely recreate the fingerprint pattern. Be that as it may, to do this the gadget should create heat which isn’t workable for some gadgets.
4. Ultrasonic Scanner Ultrasonic scanners use sound waves like sonar instead of light that scan the surface of the fingerprint. It is highly accurate. This is a biometric fingerprint recognition method that is slower than the light-based solution.

Comparison and Authentication

After scanning fingerprint will be converted into a biometric schema. The fingerprints are encrypted and sent to the verification service. Then they are compared with the original fingerprint biometrics. If there is a match, then a person is recognized and identity is verified. However, in the comparison process, some flexibility is provided. This means that the authentication process with a failure rate generally compares and validates the fingerprint. Even if it is almost identical there is a chance of a false positive due to scratches or dirt on the fingerprint scanner or the cuts, sweat, and dirt on the fingerprint.

How Accurate is a Fingerprint Biometric Scan?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided information on fingerprint biometrics and related technologies accuracy in 2004 in the report.

“The best system was accurate 98.6% with one finger, 99.6% of the time with two fingers, and 99.9% with four or more fingers with the false positive rate. 0.01 percent rate.”

Advantages of Fingerprint Biometrics

  • The fingerprint verification process uses passwordless authentication:
  • It provides an improved user experience. Users can expect a quick and easy login process without having to remember complex passwords after the initial login process.
  • The uniqueness and accuracy of fingerprints make biometric fingerprint scan more secure than basic things like passwords, security questions, or PINs.
  • It provides better integration possibilities. The fingerprint biometric is collected and managed on the device used to access the application.

Also Read: What Is The Passive Biometrics Verification Check?

Disadvantages of Fingerprint Biometrics

Fingerprint Damage:

Fingerprints are unique, but they can also become damaged and degraded over time. Fingerprints can transform into an unrecognizable pattern due to cuts, burns, or simple aging. Once the print is damaged, it cannot be reused and this can cause problems.

Stolen Pattern and Schemas:

Biometric fingerprint scan are partially theft-proof. From the security databases hackers can steal schematics and use them as a way to trick authentication systems.

Synthetic fingerprint:

Creative hackers can also create synthetic fingerprints that can be used for scanning however this process is extremely difficult. To mitigate the approach thermal or capacitive scanners are used.

Bottom line

Biometric fingerprints have wide uses in many sectors such as fintech, healthcare, security systems, etc. They are now used in mobile apps to open and lock the phone. Financial institutions can benefit from the fingerprint verification process to secure themselves from criminal activities. However biometric fingerprint scans can be stolen or forged. In this case, the KYC AML guide can help you by providing a KYC technology buying consultant that helps you find the best KYC solution that can help in accurate identity verification.


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Belal Mahmoud
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Belal possess over 8 years experience in the KYC Identity Verification industry. He has consulted KYC solutions for over 20 new economy companies at DIFC and ADGM while ensuring a seamless technical integration and helped in jurisdictional compliance audits.