The UK Home Office reports that trials of digital age verification at supermarket self-checkouts have now ended.
During the trials, shoppers in participating stores could try two new ways to prove their age.
Facial age estimation technology: those purchasing alcohol looked at a camera on the self-checkout and technology estimated their age.
It didn’t require any personal details or ID documents, and all images were instantly deleted once someone received their estimated age. If the system detected they looked younger than the set age threshold, customers were asked to use an alternative method.
Digital ID app: shoppers could use the free Yoti or Post Office EasyID app to scan a QR code on the checkout screen and share a verified age attribute.
Those who did not wish to use digital age verification had the option to ask a staff member to come and approve them and if required show their ID to a colleague instead.
Key takeaways from the trials:
Participating supermarkets confirmed they support digital age verification, and would welcome legislative change in this area
No underage customers purchased age restricted items when using the new Yoti age verification technology
Informed consent was gathered from all customers, who were given a choice whether to use the technology or present an ID document to a member of staff
The majority of shoppers who used Yoti digital proof of age solutions liked the technology and would use it again, once available
The technology provided an opportunity to reduce the number of physical age interventions, giving retail staff more time to monitor other activities, including spotting proxy sales
Yoti facial age estimation is more accurate than humans which reduces the risks of incorrectly estimating the age of shoppers
It is more inclusive because anyone who looks over the required age threshold does not need to carry around a physical ID to prove their age
Digital age verification supports the ability for retailers to achieve licensing objectives
Currently, UK law requires a person to observe and approve the sale of age restricted items.
The Home Office is due to publish full reports with the outcomes of the supermarket trials, and whether digital age verification will become an accepted verification method for the sale of age restricted goods.
A Yoti spokesperson says: “With 70% of people saying they would use facial age estimation when buying age restricted goods at self-checkout, we believe shoppers and retailers are ready to embrace this new technology.”
“We look forward to reading the full outcome of the trials.”