SingPass app can be used to verify age to buy alcohol from vending machines soon

by Natalie Lim

The SingPass app can soon be used to verify our ages to get beer from vending machines, and this spells good news for all alcohol lovers.

Sometimes, cracking a cold one is the best way to wind down after a long day of work. But if you’re an OT-warrior, there are times where you just can’t join your friends for a couple of drinks, or even purchase alcohol from a nearby mart to drown your sorrows in—all due to the amendment to the Liquor Control Act made on 1 Aug 2017.

Under the Act, the sale of alcohol cannot be sold from 10.30pm to 7am, unless it’s from a licensed retailer. But with this new function from Singpass, there’s hope for our night owls.

Access alcohol vending machines with SingPass

Singpass alcohol vending machines
Photo: Ascan Marketing Services Pte Ltd

Ascan, a fintech company that develops payment terminals such as those found on vending machines, is partnering with SingPass to make this happen by the third quarter of 2021. 

The process is easy. Users would be prompted to scan a QR code on the payment terminal to verify their age via the SingPass app, and once that’s confirmed, you can then choose your alcohol beverage. Of course, those under 18 would not be able to make the purchase.

SingPass, a more accurate means of age verification

Singpass alcohol vending machines 1
Photo: Ascan Marketing Services Pte Ltd

Although the new feature has won over the hearts of many Singaporeans, some are concerned that the function would be abused by minors.

However, Ascan’s chief technical officer, Wong Soong Teck reassures that this will not be the case.

“SingPass actually provides a more accurate means of verification than just spotting an IC (identification card) without properly looking at a buyer’s face,”.

He added that in the event a minor takes a parent’s phone, he or she would not be able to access the SingPass app as a password, fingerprint, or Face ID would be needed to unlock the app. 

Photo: Ascan Marketing Services Pte Ltd

Up to date, the number of SingPass app users has more than doubled, with one million users in the first half of 2020 to the present 2.5 million users.

Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan, said that though SingPass was created in 2003, it has to evolve with technology to ensure that users’ digital identity remained secure. 

Dr Balakrishnan also announced in Parliament earlier this week that in the future, even passport verification can be achieved through SingPass. 

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I leave the office at 6PM on the . to rush home and play games. My boss has no control over me!!

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