Does Publix Scan Id’s – Here’s How It Works

Have you ever run into a Publix grocery store to purchase just a few items and realized you left your ID in the car? If one of those items is age-restricted, like alcohol or some cold medicines, you will be asked to show a government-issued photo ID. With growing cyber threats, many wonder what information is stored after a cashier scans an ID and which stores they can trust to keep their health information safe. Many Americans feel it is hard to get through an entire day without a company collecting personal information. So, will the Publix cashier scan your ID? 

Yes, you should expect a Publix cashier to scan your ID to collect your birthdate instead of typing it in. However, laws on the matter vary from state to state. Currently, Publix is in seven southeastern states. Georgia, for example, requires consent before scanning a customer’s ID. Florida mandates against storing personal information swiped from an ID.

Will your ID be scanned if you order alcohol through Instacart or use the self-checkout? Which cold medicines are age-restricted, prompting the cashier to ID you? Keep reading for more topics related to getting carded at Publix.

Which purchases are age-restricted?

If you purchase alcohol and tobacco at Publix grocery stores, you will be asked for a government-issued photo ID. Also, you will be carded if you purchase medicine containing the cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan. 

According to a Reddit post in a Publix subreddit frequented by Publix employees, only the person buying the product will be asked to show an ID if you are with a group of people. Commenters also reference a company rule to only card people that look under 35. 

The ID must be a government-issued photo ID that has not expired. Usually, accepted forms of ID include a state driver’s license, a military ID, a passport or U.S. passport card, or any state-issued ID card. 

Additionally, your ID should not be peeling away from the edges, torn in any spots, or have faded text. Publix employees are instructed to card returning recognizable customers that they have carded in the past. Personally, in Atlanta, my Publix cashiers have always typed in my birthdate.

In the U.S., you must be 21 years or older to purchase alcohol and tobacco and 18 or older to purchase cold medicines with dextromethorphan, such as “Nyquil Cough” and “Robitussin Maximum Strength Nighttime Cough DM.” 

In case you are wondering, most Publix stores sell beer, wine, and seltzers. “Publix Liquors,” owned by Publix, is only located in Florida. 

Is your ID scanned?

Some store locations’ technology is not set up for scanning IDs, and cashiers will type in your birthdate manually. You should know it is legal for cashiers to scan your ID. 

When a retailer “scans” an ID barcode, the information they see should be identical on the front of your card. This information includes your name, address, date of birth, expiry of the card, and physical features like height. 

After completing your purchase, your can even see the scanned information from your ID printed on the receipt. It’ll include texts such as “Age Confirmed” as well as your birthdate and cashier.

Scanning the card has a few purposes. Having the information on the screen makes it easier for the cashier to read it quickly. Cashiers are instructed to compare the information on the screen to the information on the front of the card to ensure the card barcode was not tampered with. Some scanning programs will sound an alarm if the person is underage. Some fake IDs will not scan, so this is one way to identify a fake. 

Scanning an ID card is supposed to take a picture of the information, whereas swiping concerns customers because swiping can gather information specific to the barcode and sensitive information on the back of the ID.

Here is a chart of the seven U.S. states with Publix locations, and what the published scanning laws in the state are:

U.S. States With PublixID Scanning Law
AlabamaCan scan
FloridaProhibits storage of data, but allows scanning 
GeorgiaCannot scan without your consent
North CarolinaCan scan
South CarolinaCan scan
Tennessee Can scan
VirginiaCan scan, except not the machine-readable zone (MRZ)

Yes, you are carded at self-checkout & Instacart 

We have all wondered, “how will they check my ID at self-checkout?” Once you scan an age-restricted product you are buying, your screen will freeze with an alert that prompts a store employee to come to help you. When they come over to you, they will ask to see your ID and type in your birthdate or scan your ID, allowing you to complete the self-checkout. Thought you could get out of the store quicker with self-checkout, eh? Nope, you are still at the mercy of the notoriously understaffed Publix. 

While the in-store cashiers will not scan your ID, an Instacart delivery driver might. Alcohol is unavailable at all retailers and not available in all states through Instacart. The Instacart website says the shopper will scan your IDs front and/or back upon delivery, but sometimes they can enter the information manually. 

If privacy concerns you, Instacart’s website addresses security, saying the information is not stored on the shoppers’ personal devices. Instacart also addresses safeguarding and protecting your personal health information, or PHI. The company states it will make any legally required notifications if they breach their personal information. 

You are out of luck if you do not have your ID

Publix stands firm on checking IDs for anyone that looks below the age of 35. It is really up to the cashier if they card you and whether they will scan your ID or type in your birthdate manually. 

There is no guarantee you won’t be carded if you look older than 35, so plan accordingly. Do not be shocked if you are denied your purchases if you cannot show a valid ID.


Bring your ID to Publix with you if you plan on purchasing age-restricted items like alcohol, and do not forget some cold medicines require you to be 18 or older. So if you think you can dash inside Publix with just your credit card while your partner waits in the car, think twice. Scanning ID laws are not super strict in the seven states in which Publix has stores, so expect your ID to be scanned as opposed to the cashier typing in your birthdate. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply