The cost of new soon-to-be-launched UK ID card is set to skyrocket to nearly £60 as the cost of capturing biometric data and fingerprint amounts to almost as much as the cost of the card holding them.
The Press Association understands that this hidden charge will now be outsourced to external providers that could include the post office, high street stores or even supermarkets.
The Home Office secretary, Jacqui Smith, said that the "market" for providing the data collection service would be worth around £200 million for the 7 million or so adults expected to sign for the new card.
The card, which will become compulsory for foreign nationals as early as next year, will replace bank statements, driving license and other documents that can be used as proof of identity.
The estimated cost of rolling out the highly controversial scheme has increased several times over the last decade and is currently standing at more than £4.7 billion according to the latest estimates.
Similarly, the cost of passport has risen from £18 back in 1997 to £100 today when the cost of capturing biometric data is factored in.
Speaking at the Social Market Foundation in London, Ms Smith said that the new ID card could eventually be used to replace the "dictionary of different passwords", which would pave the way for a massive roll-out of stand alone and embedded ID card readers.