A new dual function proof-of-age and pre-paid Visa card is promising to make age verification far simpler for convenience store retailers.

Available to 12-year-olds and above, the new Visa Prepaid CitizenCard will enable users to prove their identity and age, as well as pay for purchases.

The card, which also features photo ID, a printed date of birth and the government PASS mark, also has an embedded chip which works with the retailers’ epos system to automatically verify the user’s age, blocking the sale if they are under 18.

“The new card takes the age verification process to new heights” Andrew Chevis, chief operating officer of CitizenCard, told C-Store.

 “It is the perfect all-round solution for younger people looking to prove their age and pay for purchases.  The card is a safe and useful alternative to cash, as you can spend online and if the card is mislaid you can immediately block it.  And, as it’s a pre-paid card users can only spend what is loaded.”

While Chevis expects the card to prove popular across the age bands, highest levels of take-up are expected amongst the 18 plus age group. “It will speed up the buying process for them and mean that they won’t need to carry other forms of ID.”

Available now, the card costs £15 to purchase, and retailers who want to sell it in-store can earn commission.

With no monthly or annual fees, the card is highly competitive and can be loaded free of charge by bank transfer, standing order, online banking or at any branch of Barclays bank.

“We hope that convenience stores come on board and support the new card, it really is in everyone’s interest to support this,” Chevis added.

Paul Baxter, chief executive of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, said the card was a “huge step forward for PASS Proof of Age.”

“The Visa logo and hologram will add to the acceptance of the card as valid ID, and the clear distinction between 12-15, 16-17 and 18 plus cards will help our members to comply with the ever-stringent laws on underage sales,” he said.