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Asda has announced it will be the first supermarket to trial an automated age verification solution at self-checkouts which aims to make it easier and quicker for customers using this facility.

From this week, customers in Asda’s Pudsey and Stevenage stores can use privacy preserving age estimation technology when purchasing alcohol, which works via a camera in the self-checkout screen to accurately estimate a customer’s age.

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The initiative is part of a Home Office test to allow the trial of technologies that can assist in the requirement for age verification in the retail sale of alcohol.

Shoppers purchasing alcohol can simply look at a camera to verify their age before completing their purchase. If the system detects a customer looks younger than 25, they can prove their age through the Yoti and Post Office EasyID apps.

Those who do not wish to use the digital system at the self-checkouts have the option to show their ID to an Asda colleague who will be on hand to help.

The trial is in partnership with checkout technology leaders NCR and digital identity network, Yoti, which allows people to pass an age threshold in seconds without the need for an ID document or human intervention, providing customers with a much quicker and seamless shopping experience when buying alcohol at Asda’s self-checkouts.

It will run until the end of May and the technology will only be used for the purchase of alcohol products during the trial.

Digital identity software is the latest technology to be tested in Asda’s Stevenage store, as the grocer will also trial the use of sensors to help quickly detect things like the need to open more checkouts at peak times to manage queues.

Asda is also launching a trial early next month that will allow colleagues in four stores to test payments via the mobile Scan and Go app, where they can scan, bag and pay for their shop conveniently.

Geri Hebberd, Senior Director of Retail Innovation at Asda, said: “We know how time pressed some of our customers are, so we always want to make things quicker and easier for them when they shop with us. We are excited to be the first retailer in the UK to test this new technology and are looking forward to seeing what our customers think of the trial. The use of this software will enable colleagues to focus on serving customers and make sure they have an excellent experience whilst in store.”

Robin Tombs, CEO of Yoti said: “Waiting for age approval at the self-checkout is sometimes frustrating for shoppers, but Asda customers in Pudsey and Stevenage will now be able to prove their age in seconds without the wait using Yoti Facial Age Estimation or the free Yoti ID app. This in turn will enable Asda colleagues to focus on the most important part of their job – serving customers. Our age verification solutions are helping retailers like Asda meet the requirements of regulators worldwide and keep pace with consumer demands for fast and convenient services, while preserving people’s privacy.”

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