A groundbreaking digital identification solution that enhances current age-verification systems at all retail points of sale and protects user privacy has been announced by NACS, the global trade association that represents the convenience and fuel retailing industry, and Conexxus, its standards-setting partner.
The new TruAgeTM solution makes the traditional carding experience more convenient and accurate. It addresses age-verification beyond the traditional store register to online ordering, home delivery and curbside pickup, which have grown in popularity during the pandemic.
The solution is already supported by more than 130 retail companies that represent 22,000-plus convenience store locations in the United States, plus four industry point-of-sale (POS) providers. In addition, Molson Coors Beverage Company is the first major global beer company to support TruAgeTM.
TruAgeTM makes it easier and more accurate to verify a customer’s age when purchasing age-restricted products, and at the same time makes identity theft difficult. A customer’s date of birth and photo are used to verify identity. When confirming age and identity, one-time-use tokens are placed on the customer’s mobile device to confirm legal age to purchase age-restricted products.
TXB convenience stores and Kwik Chek Food Stores in the Austin, Texas, area, will pilot TruAgeTM with additional markets testing the solution later this year.
“TruAgeTM provides the least expensive method to reliably verify the age of our customers through the numerous face-to-face authentications already conducted in our stores. It does not expose sensitive personal information and is an important step toward eliminating youth access to adult products. No stand-alone POS system can do this today,” said 2020-21 NACS Chairman Kevin Smartt, who is the CEO and president of Kwik Chek/TXB stores.
Consumers Express Support
A national consumer survey conducted by NACS in 2020 found that 90% of Americans support a nationwide standard for age-verification, and 78% of Americans want a universal, compulsory approach for all age-restricted purchases. More than three in four Americans (76%) also said they would support the development of an age-verification program by major retailers that sell age-restricted products. Most consumers ages 21 to 30 said they would download the TruAgeTM app after hearing a description of what it is and how it works.
“Our industry conducts 165 million transactions a day, and 50 million of them involve an age-restricted product. Consumers tell us that age-verification is essential to restrict access and sales to minors, and it is even more important today as new forms of last-mile delivery add challenges to making sure all online orders and deliveries of age-restricted products are legal,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.
“We believe that consumer preferences for fast, safe and accurate digital age-verification are important as channels blur and more age-restricted products are sold through non-traditional formats,” added Armour, noting that TruAgeTM will expand beyond the convenience retail channel and become “the de facto standard for age-verification across all businesses that sell age-restricted products such as restaurants and bars, as well as online providers.”
“Encouraging people to enjoy our products responsibly is at the cornerstone of our business,” said Jim Hughes, vice president of convenience for Molson Coors. “We are excited to be an early supporter of this technology that we believe will help reduce underage access to our products and can be expanded across all our major markets.”
“TruAgeTM can accelerate the three biggest demands that consumers are asking of retailers: Give me a fast, frictionless experience, provide more last-mile delivery options beyond the storefront and protect my privacy,” said Conexxus Executive Director Gray Taylor.
A History of Restricting Youth Access
NACS has led efforts to restrict youth access to age-restricted products for the past half century:
- 1971: Industry’s first age-verification training video
- 1985: Launch of “I.D. Please: It’s the Law” program to prevent sales of alcohol to minors
- 1990s: NACS became a founding member of the We Card program, providing employee training and educational programs that prevent age-restricted product sales to minors and promote responsible retailing, consistently driving down youth availability in retail. We Card is supporting NACS in its effort to bring TruAgeTM to market.
- 2010: NACS supported enactment of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, which regulates the online sale and delivery of tobacco products and closed loopholes for minors to acquire tobacco products
- 2020: NACS supported enactment of the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act. The law requires online e-cigarettes sellers to ensure delivery carriers verify the age of recipients upon delivery.
TruAgeTM is free to retailers, consumers and POS providers, and its relevant intellectual property will be placed in the public domain—removing significant barriers to adoption.
Learn more about the TruAgeTM program and opportunities to participate at convenience.org/TruAge.