How to check that your ID-card reader is working?

If problems emerge when you’re using your ID-card or you’re just starting to use the ID-card electronically, the first thing you should check is that everything is in order with your ID-card and the card reader.  

Don’t forget: before you start using the ID-card (or another digital document), you must install the ID-software on your computer and configure your web browsers for using the ID-card, if necessary.  

Read about tested and supported smart card readers. 

How do I insert the ID-card into the card reader? 

The ID-card is inserted in most card readers with the chip-end in front in such a manner that your photo is facing downwards and the chip upwards. If you have a new ID-card reader and you haven’t used it before, try turning the card to the other side – perhaps that was the problem?  

Don’t be afraid – inserting the ID-card the wrong way will not damage it. If turning the card to the other side does not work, insert it into the reader in such a way that the chip-end is in the front and your photo is facing downwards – check that your card is inserted into the reader as deep as possible.  

How to make sure that my ID-card and card reader are working properly? 

Everything is fine if the Digidoc4 client displays your name and data after inserting the card. 

  • If the Digidoc4 client shows your data, but gives you an error message or recommendation or warns you that your software, certificates, etc. have expired, act according to the instructions given by DigiDoc4!  
  • For the error message “no card in card reader”, try inserting the ID-card into the reader again. If necessary, restart your computer so that the card is properly inserted into the reader and the ID-card reader is properly connected to the computer.  

How to check that the connection between the card reader and the computer is working? 

If the DigiDoc4 client’s error message says that no card reader is connected, the problem lies either in the card reader (for example, it could be broken) or its poor connection with the computer (either there is an issue with the USB port or the end of the card reader’s cable is defective).  

Many ID-card readers have a signal light. The signal light of some card readers is always the same colour (for example green or blue), but a change in the colour of the light of some card readers signals that there is a problem (for example, it changes from the usual green to yellow or red). You can get additional info by checking the package of your ID-card reader.  

The most common explanations for the signal lights of the card reader are: 

•The light is not on: the computer is not connected to the ID-card reader. 

•The light is on: the connection between the computer and card reader is working. 

•The light is blinking: the connection between the computer and card reader is working and the computer is actively trying to get information from the card reader/card.  

If you have no signal light on your reader, you simply have to test the reader’s functionality using trial-and-error.  

If there is no connection between the card reader and the computer, try reconnecting the ID-card’s cable with the computer. Make sure that the card reader’s USB-end is fully/deeply inserted into the computer port and, if possible, check whether another USB-port works better.  

Sometimes, however, the issue is the quality of the card reader’s cable: hold the card reader’s cable with your fingers right behind the USB-end of the cable and hold it straight and tight in the USB-port whilst you restart the computer. If the card reader starts working like this, you may be able to get urgent things done despite the broken cable.  

A defective card reader must be replaced as soon as possible!  

You can buy a new reader in most computer shops, shopping centres and even many petrol stations. As with everything else, card readers tend to wear out when constantly used – especially if the reader’s cable has become tangled in a bag or damaged when rolled up. A good recommendation is to always have a spare reader!  

It’s worth knowing that the price of a card reader depends more on its features and user-friendliness than its reliability: cheaper doesn’t necessary mean worse. However, ordering a reader online should be approached with caution: many products of dubious quality that may or may not work at all are sold on auction and bargain websites. Always prefer the producer’s own website and renowned computer stores when ordering online.  

How to test that a web browser works with the ID-card? 

In order to check that your ID-card is working, open the eesti.ee portal in your web browser and click on “Enter”. Select “ID-card” as the log-in option and follow the instructions on screen. You are asked to enter PIN1 of your ID-card when you log in to the service and PIN2 when you have to confirm transactions or activities. You can change the PINs of your ID-card yourself if you wish to do so.

If DigiDoc4 displays your data correctly but you still cannot log in to e-services in the web browser, try again with a different browser.  

In the case of browser problems: 

  • Focus on the error messages on screen – they will help you find instructions for solving the problem in the id.ee web.