Monday, March 13, 2017

3 Methods to Read MyKad

MyKad, or sometime mis-spelled as "my card", is the Malaysian identity card issued to citizens aged 12 and above. The permanent residents, Malaysian Arm Forces personnel and Malaysian Police personnel are also issued identity card of similar features, known respectively as MyPR, MyTentera and MyPolis.

Method 1: Read Data from MyKad Chip

This is the most reliable method in digital process. To read MyKad data from the chip or smart card, you will need the following components:

  1. The reader hardware. Some commercially available options are listed at
  2. A software specially programmed to support MyKad reading on an identified operating system - such as Windows, Android, iOS. 

  • Reliable and accurate data retrieval, as long as the chip, reader and software are working correctly.
  • Less susceptible to fraud. It's easy to print a fraudulent card that looks similar to the genuine copy, but it is technically more challenging to produce a fraudulent smart card.
  • Quick. It only take a few seconds to retrieve personal identification details from a MyKad.
  • You can retrieve more demographic data than those printed on the card, such as religion, place of birth.
  • A hardware reader is required. This may introduce further considerations such as hardware wear-and-tear.
  • When a chip is worn-out or broken, it will not be readable.

Method 2: Scan Data from Card Surface

This method is technically known as OCR (optical character recognition). You can read up more about how OCR works, from our previous post. In a nutshell, OCR involves an image processing process, to recognise and extract printed text from a photo/image of the card surface.


  • Can be very portable. If you are using mobile device camera as the input for OCR, you can complete the whole scanning operation within a mobile device (e.g. Android, iOS) without requiring another hardware. Click here to find out a commercially available technology that supports MyKad OCR on mobile.
  • Supports pre-filling. By scanning the details printed on card surface, you can save the data entry time by a few minutes. User only needs to check the pre-filled details and make necessary correction, instead of 100% data entry.
  • Do not expect it to be always-accurate. OCR is to support pre-filling of a form, not to be expected as the ultimate data for submission. Some noises such as lighting reflection, can affect accuracy of the recognition process.
  • No authenticity check. With technology today, it is entirely possible for a fraudulent card to be printed at the same, or very similar quality to the genuine card. OCR scanning is not able to differentiate between a genuine or a fraudulent card. 

Method 3: Read with Human Eyes!

Good old method? :)) LOL

  • No additional technology cost to be invested. 
  • Human eyes are good at recognising and differentiating watermarks.
  • Susceptible to human data entry errors.
  • Many times slower than machine (e.g. chip reading and OCR scanning).

Method 4: NFC/Mifare Scanning?

Even though MyKad has an embedded Mifare chip, but it is meant for Touch 'n Go use case - not as the medium to store the personal identification details. So, there isn't a feasible method 4 ;)

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