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Press release: Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) launches search for UK-wide smartphone solution.

May 27, 2022

London, UK. May 27 2022 – The Proof of Age Standards Scheme, working in partnership with the age verification industry, has issued a call for a proposal for new technology to allow people to prove their age using just their smartphone.

The PASS Scheme currently authorises a number of different suppliers of physical, plastic proof of age cards.  These are legally recognised as valid forms of proof to buy alcohol and other age restricted goods and services.

The UK Government is keen to approve the use of a digital version of these cards, but set the industry a challenge to ensure that a card provided by any approved issuer can be accepted by any shop, bar, club, casino or cinema in the country.  This is technically challenging, as complex security measures are required to prevent simple forgeries of images displayed on a phone screen, and these need to be agreed across all the suppliers.  PASS has already approved a technical standard for digital proof of age, but left it to the industry to find a way to ensure cards can be universally accepted.

The PASS Scheme is working in partnership with the industry trade association, the Age Verification Providers Association, which will be facilitating a process to seek consensus across current and prospective issuers of digital PASS cards, as to which is the preferred technical approach.  PASS will also consult closely with its members including industry bodies representing those who rely on their cards to comply with licensing and related laws, such as UK Hospitality, the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group and the Association of Convenience Stores

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, Chair of the PASS Board said:

“The PASS Scheme needs to move with the times.  Young people no longer need to take keys or cash when they go out, just their phones, and we want to move with the times and give them the choice not to carry physical ID as well.”

James Lowman, Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores said:

“PASS is widely recognised by shopkeepers, so it makes perfect sense to extend the scheme into the digital world. To do this, retailers and their colleagues need to have one approach for accepting all valid digital proof of age and I’m delighted that PASS has taken another step towards making this a reality. It is very exciting to be moving towards a solution that will work for retailers, regulators, digital proof of age providers and most importantly the growing number of consumers who want to prove their age in this way.”

Iain Corby, Executive Director of the Age Verification Providers Association said:

“The industry realises that unless we make digital proof of age convenient for consumers, which means they must be able to use any approved app anywhere, anytime, then people will not have the confidence to rely on their phone instead of their old ID.  PASS has shown leadership to deliver a solution we can use not just in the UK but across Europe and beyond.”


Notes for Editors

  • The Call for Proposals is a result of the PASS Scheme consultation carried out during 2021 asking for views on how digital proof of age should be presented and verified in shops, pubs, cinemas and other places which sell age restricted products and services. Close to 250 responses were submitted enabling the PASS Scheme to make an informed view in addressing this important topic.
  • The Call for a Proposal is open until June 24 2022.
  • It can be accessed here
  • PASS remains committed to continued dialogue about how digital proof of age can work for citizens, businesses and communities alike as it builds on the comments received.
  • PASS and the AVPA are also monitoring developments of the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework, for which legislation was announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month.


About the Proof of Age Standards Scheme

PASS is the UK’s national proof of age accreditation scheme, endorsed by the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

The possession of a PASS accredited card demonstrates that your age and personal details have been verified by your card issuer and that you are who you say you are! It is also the only scheme that is backed by the Government and the enforcement authorities such as the Police and Trading Standards.

By producing your PASS card you should be able to obtain the products and services that you are legally entitled to, without embarrassment, particularly if you are fortunate enough to look younger than you are!The benefit of carrying a PASS approved card also means that you don’t need to carry valuable documents such as your driving licence or passport.

About The Age Verification Providers Association

The Age Verification Providers Association represents all the main technology suppliers who have invested in the development of age verification and estimation solutions to support the implementation of age restrictions online.

About the AVPA

As an association, we work to:

  • Inform and educate the public, industry, and media, on age verification solutions and technology.
  • Promote a positive image of effective age verification and the age verification industry.
  • Represent the industry to regulators and law makers for the advancement of best practice, socially responsible age verification policy.

The AVPA was formed in 2018 from organisations involved in the UK’s Digital Policy Alliance age verification working group and created and in response to a need for a uniform voice for of the industry.

The AVPA is governed by a representative Board drawn from its member organisations.



Contact:         Iain Corby