A biometric is a substantially stable physical or behavioral characteristics of a person which can be automatically measured and characterized for comparison. In accordance with the subject invention an identification card includes an encrypted representation of the biometric characteristic, which may be a finger print or a description of the manner in which the person signs his or her name, including the order and velocity in which strokes comprising a signature are written. The identification card is validated, and the person identified by an apparatus including a scanner which simultaneously scans two fields. The card is position in the first field and the biometric (e.g. a thumbprint) is simultaneously positioned in the second field and both are scanned at once, to produce a composite signal including both the code of representation and the scanned biometric. A microprocessor separates the composite signal, decodes the coded representation, and compares it to the stand biometric to validate the card. By simultaneously scanning both the coded representation and the biometric with a single scanner the cost of the apparatus is reduced as is the opportunity for a breach of security.