Rolling It Old School
We are on the forefront of witnessing the ever-evolving world of technology. Though much of the attention is geared towards the technological advancements in cell phones, televisions, cars, etc. There are advancements in other sectors as well, such as fingerprinting. Prior to the inclusion of technology in the fingerprinting industry, all fingerprints were originally taken on ink cards. Of course, with this method there are drawbacks, specifically, quality. This can be anything from the ink smudging on the card or the ink may be unable to pick up the ridges on the fingers (a common problem for healthcare professionals). Regardless, any of these issues will render the card and the prints on them unusable. Another major drawback of ink card fingerprinting is that it can take up to a month for your prints to be fully processed.
Into the Digital Age
Thankfully, the advancement in fingerprinting technology has made capturing and processing fingerprints easier and faster. Digital fingerprinting has somewhat become the norm for many agencies. This is referred to as live scan. It is obvious enough that capturing fingerprints digitally is less messy, but it also provides a little more that ink cannot – clarity! Even though the digital method is easier, obtaining higher quality images is easily accessible. Though technology has made the process easier, it does not mean that it does not have its restrictions. Electronic fingerprints, specifically Department of Justice background checks, are state specific and cannot be used out of state. FBI fingerprints, however, can be used nationally.
Which Method Is Best?
Even with their drawbacks, there is no one best method. It all comes down to the type of background the agency is requesting, FBI and/or Department of Justice. FBI specific background checks generally require the use of ink cards. However, if the requesting agency is merely requiring you to submit a copy of your background check results to them, then you can get away with not using ink cards and go digital. There are some live scan locations that can capture and submit your prints digitally to the FBI and have your background check results printed out that same day! From there, all you do is submit your printed results to the requesting agency.
Just remember, regardless of what method you choose or is required, every time an agency requests fingerprints to be done, you must redo it every time. It does not matter if you have had them done in the past.