The government's Connexions scheme, which includes a smartcard which can be used as proof of age, was officially launched nationwide this week.
The card is targeted at more than 1.7 million 16 to 19-year-olds and is in line for £110m funding over the next seven years of which 15% will be spent on marketing.
Connexions has been trialled regionally since December 2001 and there are already 200,000 cards in circulation.
The British Retail Consortium-backed PASS proof of age hologram is expected to start appearing on all new cards within a month as a deal is finalised.
PASS, which was unveiled in November 2001 by industry bodies including the Association of Convenience Stores, looked set to be abandoned earlier this year.
But a BRC spokesman said the 17 industry bodies involved in putting proposals for the scheme together have agreed to rescue it by contributing money and resources necessary to run it.
Connexions also offers rewards to cardholders. BP and Safeway are among 4,300 partners signed up to offer special deals at their joint petrol stations.
Talks are also under way to sign up the main Safeway chain.
North east based convenience operator Bells Stores was one of the first to sign up to offer special deals ­ including buy-one-get-one-free offers.


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