Rumours that national identity cards could cost £25 have been denied by the government.
National newspaper reports last week said Home Secretary David Blunkett believed the public would now accept a charge for entitlement cards confirming UK citizenship and giving access to state benefits, because of heightened awareness of the threat of terrorism.
While the government says £25 is too much, a fee for an ID card combined with a UK passport or driving licence is being considered as a way of making the scheme self-financing.
The introduction of a single card giving proof of age has been welcomed by many licensees as it would enable them to check the age of customers and would end the confusion with the range of schemes now operating.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Making a charge for the entitlement card, perhaps by combining it with a passport or driving licence and increasing the fee, is one option we're looking at as a result of a public consultation on the scheme.
"If we go the charging route, it would be premature to say what the cost would be, and I'm not sure where the £25 figure quoted came from.
"We've talked about an additional cost of around £14, depending on the type of card used."
But it is feared that charging for the scheme would discourage people from signing up.
Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said: "I think identity cards would be worthwhile for a small charge but at £25 it may be too steep and would discourage people from taking them out."
A report on the public consultation, which may include a recommendation on charging, is being prepared for MPs.
Pub companies including Mitchells & Butlers and JD Wetherspoon have backed a national proof-of-age scheme as a means of helping pubs meet their responsibility not to serve underage drinkers.