You’ll soon be able to use a selfie as photo ID when buying alcohol

The days of carrying around ID could soon be numbered.

Following a deal between British start-up Yoti and self-service till manufacturer NCR, you may soon be able to prove your age when buying alcohol and knives in supermarkets using just your phone.

The idea is that when you want to buy age-restricted items at a self-service till, you’ll scan a QR code on screen with Yoti’s app, which then asks you to take a selfie to prove it’s you.

Yoti said the service could be trialled in two of the big four supermarkets, but did not specify which ones.

Before you’ll be able to use it in a supermarket, you’ll need to verify your ID by linking the app with official photo ID such as a passport or driving licence.

The app is available to download here.

To set it up, take a selfie using your phone’s camera, verify your phone number and create a PIN before recording a short video clip to prove you’re human. Finally, the app will ask you to capture a photo of your passport or driving license.

A member of Yoti’s staff will then manually compare your selfie to the image on your photo ID to confirm they’re a match, but after this process the company claims it holds none of your data.

Proving your age at the supermarket is just one of the problems Yoti is aiming to solve. With online fraud becoming an ever-increasing problem, you can also use the app to check someone’s ID online, whether that’s for buying and selling, or online dating. You can also prove your own identity to businesses (without scanning documents), and log into websites without a password.

Finger scanners have similarly been used to speed up the buying process in supermarkets. At Costcutters in Brunel University you can already use ‘Fingopay’ technology, which scans the veins in your fingers, to make buy things via payment provider WorldPay.
iPhone X users can use Apple’s Face ID to unlock their phone and make purchases with Apple Pay. The advanced sensors can also be used to log into saved websites, although doubts have been raised about the technology after researchers were able to trick it using a 3D-printed mask.

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