Retailers Ready to Embrace new ID system

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Retailers Ready to Embrace new ID system

By Mike Troy - 05/18/2020
NACS new age verification system

The phrase, “may I see your ID,” could become a thing of the past if a prototype age verification system currently in development proves successful.

The trade association that represents the convenience retailing industry, NACS, said it is leading efforts to revolutionize age-verification at retail and would have a prototype of a revolutionary program ready for tests later this summer. The announcement was made recently during point-of-sale systems provider Verifone’s client forum. The new age-verification program is a turnkey, next generation solution that will verify a user’s age while also protecting personal information and delivering a frictionless experience.

“We are funding this groundbreaking program because consumers overwhelmingly want it—and they say that they are most likely to support a retail-developed program that protects their privacy,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.

NACS said it is working closely with Conexxus, a non-profit technology organization dedicated to the development and implementation of standards and technologies innovation to improve retailer operations and reduce the cost of IT ownership. The two organizations are completing detailed specifications that standardize the age-verification process at the point of sale that will include ID validation, age calculation, procedures for non-supported IDs and the ability to anonymize verification to protect personal information and consumer privacy.

“The concept of this project has been in development for months, but the current retail landscape makes this program even more imperative as retailers test new forms of consumer convenience and seek cost efficiencies that help to maintain operations in a rough economic climate,” said Armour.

Plans call for the verification solution to be offer for free to retailers and relevant intellectual property placed in the public domain so as to remove significant barriers to adoption. Advances in technology, the rapid embrace of online delivery and alternative pickup of products and consumer adoption of mobile communications have set the stage for the development of this program.

In a national consumer poll conducted in March 2020, NACS found that 90% of Americans support a nationwide standard for age-verification and 78% of Americans want a universal, compulsory We Card-like program that was established in the 1990s and approach for all age-restricted purchases. And more than three in four Americans (76%) would support the development of an age-verification program developed by major retailers who sell age-restricted products.