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Protect merchants with POS age verification

June 08, 2020

Protect merchants with POS age verification
Being an IT solution provider isn’t only about providing solutions that help your customers earn or save more money. In some cases, the POS technology you provide can help your customers maintain compliance with state and federal laws—which is arguably more important than profit and loss. Take, for instance, the sale of age-restricted tobacco and nicotine products.

Despite posting store signage that says tobacco won’t be sold to minors and training employees to check IDs to ensure the customer is the legal age to make the purchase, sales to minors still occur. In 2019, there were 19,388 FDA violations for selling tobacco to underage buyers, or a 13% failure rate. The odds are good that one of your merchants will fail if they’re tested by the FDA—which happens more than you’d expect as the FDA conducted nearly 147,000 compliance checks in 2019.

The practice of vaping nicotine has skyrocketed over the past few years. According to a Bloomberg article, vaping company Juul Labs forecasted $3.4 billion in 2019 revenue, nearly triple what the company earned the year prior. Unfortunately, with popularity came some negative attention as kids appeared to be getting their hands on Juul and other e-cigarette products despite being under the legal age in many states. To combat this trend, Juul introduced a new program designed to implement age verification standards with retail POS systems.

Juul’s Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program, as the name implies, strives to bring controls into a merchant’s POS system and pause the checkout process when a Juul product is scanned. Once the clerk verifies age by scanning an official ID, the checkout process continues. RACS compliance also includes functionality that checks the quantity of Juul products purchased during a single transaction.

While RACS and age verification, in general, is being pushed in the vaping and tobacco industries, the concept is equally relevant when it comes to the sale of alcohol and other age-restricted products. While e-cigarette and alcohol sales can be quite lucrative for a grocery or convenience store, selling to someone underage can lead to stiff fines and even legal penalties for the merchant and employee who made the sale.

Does your POS software support age verification?
To help merchants enforce age restrictions on tobacco and alcohol, make sure the POS software you’re selling incorporates age-related access control standards like Juul has put forth with its RACS program. Many leading POS systems already include functionality that injects age verification on a product-by-product basis—even if it doesn’t say it’s RACS-compliant. All that might be missing is for you to turn on the feature and specify which SKUs are age-restricted in the database.

With age verification functionality, employees who are poorly trained, forgetful or nonchalant about the sale to minors can be held accountable and your merchants can stay in good standing with the FDA and their states. For assistance in enabling such functionality, contact Ingram Micro’s POS expert Angela Lawrence.