Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems create a field to protect goods leaving your store without evidence of a transaction, or without being deactivated at the checkout point (for example, at a library). There are multiple different types of items that can be fixed with an EAS tag.  

The most common EAS tags are pins through the item, labels attached to the item’s tags, and wire loops attached to the item. In each of these systems, all items are tagged with an EAS security tag upon being received in the store and must be deactivated upon purchase so as not to set off an alarm. EAS-enabled stores have readers at the entrance/exit points that generate a field around the area to detect EAS tags which have not been deactivated – these are what alert security and staff that an item has not been paid for.  

EAS Tag Types 

There are also different types of EAS systems which work using different frequencies. The main ones are Electro-Magnetic (EM), Acousto-Magnetic (AM), and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Each of these performs similar duties, with the exception that RFID is more advanced and has more features.

EAS Security Tags Explained 


EM tags are comprised of two strips of metal which are activated. Between the pedestals at the door is a low-frequency, electromagnetic field. When these tags enter that field without being deactivated at the checkout, the tag’s characteristics change and cause the tags to react and create a different pulse that signals the pedestals to sound an alarm.  

EM system tags can be deactivated and reactivated whenever needed. EM systems are ideal for applications that rent items to customers like libraries or DVD/CD rentals. 


AM tags can be attached to reusable plastic tags or disposable labels. Like EM systems, AM systems send frequency waves in pulses in order to energise the tag so that it will respond. The tag sends a frequency signal back to the AM system. AM tags send a response at the same frequency as the transmitter which is received via a narrow band receiver in between the reader transmissions at the door. 

Radio Frequency Identification  

The RFID tags contain a (typically aluminium) wire coil, as well as a microchip, capacitor and inductor which enables the tag to store energy. The RFID reader or transmitter sends out radio frequency waves and the tags receive the energy and quickly pass it back and forth down the coil in order to build up enough energy to respond energise the microchip and read the product information from it. No false alarm as the system can determine whether a product is paid for or not by the information on the microchip. A wideband receiver receives the response when the tag is in between or in close proximity to the readers. 

Milestone works with several different retail solutions that all have a common goal: to stop theft and reduce shrinkage. Contact our team to find the solution that works for you!