Identifying fake IDs and stopping underage patrons at the door has always been a battle for bars. But thanks to new ID scanning systems, that fight has gotten easier.
“It’s important for retailers to understand that the fake IDs of today are so sophisticated and so good that it’s almost impossible for the untrained naked eye to catch a fake ID,” says Intellicheck CEO Bill White.
ID scanning systems also eliminate any lingering doubt that an ID is real or fake. “Our system takes the onus off of bars and bouncers,” says White. “The software is telling you it’s fake, so it stops a lot of the arguments at the door or at the bar.”
Intellicheck offers a variety of ID authentication solutions, but White says Age ID® is the best option for bars. This solution is also used by 27 law enforcement agencies across the country.
The Age ID application works with smartphones, tablets, and can integrate into a POS system. To keep fake ID manufacturers from using the system to perfect their craft, Intellicheck vets every user before giving them a download code.
Once downloaded, the app is easy to use. White says if you can take a picture with your smartphone, you can use the app. There is a monthly fee for the app, which varies depending on the number of devices it is installed on.
The cloud-based service does more than read barcodes to verify that an ID
is real—it authenticates it. The system is constantly growing and changing as Intellicheck adds and updates ID types when necessary. “There are about 250 known, valid ID formats,” says White. “We have all of those known formats in our proprietary database, and we got those directly from the manufacturer.
“When a state comes out with a new ID, we will get an advance copy of that ID, and we will go through that ID in our lab and improve the security features. So we’re involved in it right from the start.”
In addition to authenticating the ID, the app will provide a sample ID from the state being scanned so that the person checking can see a sample.
The system is constantly updating its database of fake ID features, as well. “Because our customers are scanning millions of IDs a month, we run into a lot of fake IDs,” says White. “As we run into those IDs and identify those IDs, we program those rules into our proprietary database. So we have thousands of rules that we’ve used to catch fake IDs.”
Another system on the market is IDscan.net, which recently developed an affordable, off-the-shelf “Bar Bundle” designed specifically to meet the needs of bars. The Bar Bundle is a cloud-based mobile solution with a robust parsing engine that captures and verifies the
data on any government-issued ID within seconds and with 100% accuracy. The system combines IDScan.net’s VeriScan Online software with a handheld device.
IDScan.net was first to market with mobile technology, and their features include text and email notification upon group member arrival, self-expiring name tags/VIP bracelets, customizable agreements or waivers, and payment processing separately or through a POS system, which can prevent chargebacks. “Our ID scans are time stamped, and we can add custom agreements that patrons can sign for larger purchases, such as bottle service,” says Petrov. “It is a lot harder for a credit card company to charge you, the bar, when you have on file a time-stamped ID scan and a customer agreement with a signature.”
IDScan.net also offers PC and tablet solutions as well as a PC add-on facial recognition solution. “Our facial recognition technology allows you to capture an image of both a guest’s face and their photo on an ID. State-of-the-art biometric software then compares the two images to determine how much of a match they are. Businesses can use this to ensure customers are who they say they are,” says Petrov. “Once a face or ID has been entered, that person will no longer need to stop to have their ID or face scanned. Our software will automatically recognize that person’s face and pull up their ID, along with any comments such as banned or VIP.”
To get the Bar Bundle, bars register for a software account, and IDScan.net sends them a handheld scanning device. Staff can immediately start using the user-friendly system. IDScan.net can also work with a bar to arrange payment plans or create customizable solutions to fit any bar’s needs and budgets.
Solutions like IDScan.net and Intellicheck also offer additional benefits beyond the identification of fake IDs.
For one, the systems can help in meeting state compliance requirements. “If you’re accused of selling to a minor, you have a history of that scan so you can prove that you did in fact scan that ID,” explains White.
ID scanning also automates the age and ID verification process, which means shorter lines, faster processing, and patrons spending money sooner.
Scanned patrons can also be put into groups like VIP or blacklist/banned. “When those patrons arrive to your bar, you know who they are and how to handle them,” says Petrov, who says the Bar Bundle also allows users to keep track of additional details about guests like what a particular VIP likes to drink and where they like to sit.
In fact, the systems collect a variety of information that bars can use to better market and serve your customers. “By scanning a patron’s ID, you’re collecting demographic data such as gender, age, and zip code,” says Petrov.
Bars can use this information to track customer behaviors like what groups spend the most and when they’re visiting. The information is cloud-based, so staff can access it anywhere, even across franchises.
Bars can even market to specific patrons. “If you know on Thursday nights you typically get women in their 30s from a particular part of town, then you can target your advertising and social media accordingly,” says Petrov. “This can help greatly reduce costs while increasing the effectiveness of marketing.”
By Ashley Bray
Photos: (top to bottom): Intellicheck, Shutterstock.com.