Age Verification: The importance of restricting adult-oriented content, now and in the future
“You must be 18 to enter this site. Check this box to confirm you’re 18 or over.”
We all know no one takes the pop-up warnings seriously – especially those who are supposed to.
Online sellers are often under the impression that basic checks are enough to protect minors from age-sensitive products.
But, for most of the minors, the age verification box is not a barrier. Few sites ask the visitors to enter their birth date, which again, isn’t a hurdle.
One click and they can have access to content and services they were warned not to buy. For a typical teenager, it adds to the fun.
Even though the regulatory authorities in many developed countries have warned adult-oriented goods sellers against unverified sales, online traders are still selling age-restricted goods without adequately verifying the consumer’s age, but authorities are catching on.
So, how can the e-commerce sector sell adult-only products and services without facing legal repercussions?
That’s where age verification software comes into play.
What is Age Verification Software?
Age verification software confirms the age of a consumer to cut access to products or content that aren’t suitable for them. Basic age verification software quickly determines the online consumer’s age by referencing public databases.
In a sector where conversion rates are key, maintaining a seamless user experience during these age checks is crucial.
What age verification software can do is take the pain out of online age verification and turn it into a push-button solution.
Age verification software is specially designed for the following age-restricted industries operating through e-commerce platforms:
- ✔ Gaming, gambling, and sports betting
- ✔ Purchasing tobacco products, cannabis and vaping supplies
- ✔ Purchasing alcohol
- ✔ Purchasing weapons
- ✔ Online dating
- ✔ Banking, trading and cryptocurrencies
Age Verification Software is the Future
By 2021, the number of global digital buyers is estimated to hit a massive 2.14 billion. This high-demand landscape has helped many entrepreneurs to thrive. The rarely breached payment windows, easy-accessibility, and overnight shipping has revolutionized how businesses operate.
However, it has also opened unforeseen challenges for age-exclusive products and services – alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, internet pornography, to name but a few.
Savvy tech entrepreneurs have created age verification tools for adult-oriented online products and services.
And with the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the tech is only getting smarter at verifying the real age of a customer.
Why should online adult-only businesses use age verification software?
There are risks associated with selling age-restricted products without verifying a consumer’s identity. Online sellers can run into serious legal consequences if they don’t at least try to verify the customer’s age.
Avoid Legal Issues and Hefty Fines
The regulatory authorities in many developed countries now legally expect age-restricted products or service providers to know the consumer’s age, including for online sales. For instance:
- ✔ The UK, with the Children and Young Persons (Protection From Tobacco) Act 1991, is at the forefront to ensure regulated sales of nicotine.
- ✔ The US, with the PACT act, now expects online traders to use age verification software for adult-only content and products.
- ✔ In recent years we’ve seen a push in Australia to restrict tobacco sales with the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006.
And this is just the start. Analysts agree that other countries will swiftly follow suit and introduce legislation to protect minors from age-sensitive content.
Without technically-sound age verification software, e-commerce business may be pushed to legal issues and a bad reputation. This is happening already:
- ✔ Rush Street was recently charged $30,000 for underage gambling violations.
- ✔ An online knife retailer was slapped with a fine of $25,000 for selling a knife to a 13-year-old.
- ✔ “Student e-cigarettes” sold on Chinese online e-commerce platforms.
Age verification goes hand-in-hand with the need for KYC – a protocol all businesses must follow to assess the risk of illegal activities.
As tech is getting smarter and age verification software is becoming more efficient, the legislation too will become more stringent.
To filter real customers
Through proper use of age verification software, online businesses and e-commerce retailers can filter legitimate customers. By restricting access to real visitors, companies can customize their retention strategies accordingly.
It also works as a brand reputation strategy since you can show to the world that your business takes the safety of minors seriously.
To provide a better user experience
A high-functionality age verification software can offer a frictionless verification process for your customers. Enterprises are thus rooting for age verification software that is efficient, quick, and easy-to-use.
With a robust age-verification system, legitimate buyers can seamlessly buy products without facing processing hiccups and clunky interface issues. This, in turn, will result in higher satisfaction rates, better conversion, and eventually, more revenue.
Different Ways to Verify a User’s Age
Electronic Identity Verification
For electronic identity verification (eIDV), buyers data such as date of birth, name, and address is checked against data resources to ensure legitimacy. eIDVs can be strengthened through two-factor authentication that includes email and phone number verification.
It’s also a valuable layer of information age-restricted product sellers can use. For document verification, a customer’s photograph is compared with their ID document. This step can run along the eIDV process.
Age-restricted goods sellers can also ask for a user’s credit card information – which is not the best approach considering a minor can use their parent’s card to pass as an adult.
Face-based biometric verification acts as a strong deterrent for underage customers and would-be fraudsters who use a fake ID to access the age-restricted products. It promises greater accuracy, higher security, and better convenience for legitimate users.
Facial verification is one of the best approaches to shield your business from risks of underage access and identity fraud. Compliance-conscious organizations are using biometric-based verification software for identity verification and KYC purposes.
Experts have placed big bets on the scope of age verification software and digital identity scanners. For businesses that are selling age-restricted goods, one of the most fundamental responsibilities is to reduce the risk of underage access.
The time has come to leverage the potential of the online age verification tools for consumer authentication. Many e-commerce stores are already stepping into the age-verification future, and rightly so.
With age verification technology widely available and improving rapidly, online businesses should strongly consider adding it to their websites, even if it is to signal to customers that they understand their social responsibility.
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