CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
Opinions vary as to what type of age
verification systems perform best under
what circumstances. The most popular
method is a cash register prompt that
tells the clerk to input the purchaser’s
age for restricted products. Transactions cannot be processed without that
date since these products are flagged.
This is followed in popularity by a barcode reader for driver’s licenses, which
also works via prompt. Some retailers
have also tried biometric readers or special smartphone apps (see “Alternative
Technologies” sidebar on page 46).
The cash register prompt has been
around a while. But it was not until the
mid-2000s that Motorola and Data Logic
began producing affordable barcode scan-
ners that could read licenses’ magnetic
strips. Convenience stores began adopt-
ing the technology about five years ago,
said Haig. Still, it is not that widespread.
Marty Ramos, CTO, consumer prod-
ucts and services, at Microsoft, said
scanning is more prevalent on-premise.
Retailers may have been slow to adopt
it because, up until 10 years ago, many
licenses lacked barcodes. And retailers
could not access DMV data to confirm
information. “States are loosening up,”
he added. “Before, databases weren’t re-
ally available to retailers.”
While exact statistics on how many
c-stores employ these systems is un-
clear, VeriFone offered its own numbers
as a barometer. Out of 135,000 gas and
convenience store combo locations,
half have VeriFone POS terminals, said
Mike Tyler, senior director of market-
ing. Of that 50%, 70% have the ability to
use EAV — not that all do.
One drawback has been that until
recently, there has been little standardization of different states’ barcodes. Hence, readers could not always process licenses from multiple
states. But many retailers are unaware
of the change. “Maybe states and vendors need to get the word out,” said
Dan Witkemper, product manager,
POS, at Gilbarco Veeder-Root, whose
Passport POS system offers age verification, mobile payment and lottery.
STIFFER PENALTIES PROMPT MORE CONVENIENCE STORES TO
EXPLORE ELECTRONIC AGE VERIFICATION TECHNOLOGIES.
BY DEBBY GARBATO