Published on July 12th, 2021
Digital products and services are attracting customers’ attention nowadays. According to a survey in 2015, an estimated 1.46 billion people made online purchases and the number is predicted to rise by 46% by the end of 2021.
In the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers prefer to make cashless payments in order to practice social distancing. With the huge range of benefits attached to online shopping, it also has its fair share of challenges for business owners. The major part of these challenges can be controlled by using age verification technology in businesses.
In the offline world, businesses that sell age-restricted products do not allow the entry of minors into their spaces. However, in an online world, it becomes difficult for businesses to verify that only the authorized individuals can access the website.
In a conventional setup, the customers are required to confirm their age before getting access to the material. It is easy for minors to fake such a simple verification step, therefore, businesses require an advanced age verification technology.
Introduction to Online Age Verification
It refers to the processes that restrict access to age-restricted online content from minors. Vendors of websites selling age-exclusive content have the social responsibility of selling their products only to adult individuals.
For online businesses, it is very significant to verify the consumers to keep the regulatory compliance intact.
How Online Age Verification Process Works
This is a simple 4-step process as described below:
- Submitting DOB : In the first step, the customer is required to submit their name and date of birth through an online registration form provided by the system.
- Uploading the ID document : The customer then submits the photo of the government-issued ID document such as an ID card, passport, or driving license.
- Extracting Identity Information : In the third step, the information on the documents is extracted through OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
- Verification results : After successfully verifying the details and the originality of the document, the customer is then verified or declined based on the provided age verification threshold.
Perils of Lacking Age Verification Checks
Businesses selling age-restricted products can face a number of risks if they do not screen customers according to their age. A few of them include:
- Bad reputation : User satisfaction plays an important role in taking the business to a higher level of success and similarly, a lack in it can destroy the entire reputation the business tried to make in years. Not investing in age verification solutions can negatively impact the market value of a business, because, in this way, they are exposing minors to age-restricted content.
- Non-compliance cost : General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to all kinds of vendors regardless of the products they are selling. The purpose of this regulation is to keep security intact for the consumers. This protection regulation is equally important when verifying the age of the consumers. Online businesses need to comply with the GDPR otherwise they will face hefty fines and penalties from regulatory bodies.
- Financial Loss : Businesses can reduce false chargebacks against transactions performed by minors. Age verifiers integrated into the platform can do the identification process in a better way. Online age verification is better than self-verification, manual checks, and checkboxes on websites, thus minimizing plenty of losses for businesses.
Significance of age verification in different industries
Industries that sell adult-oriented products and services need to have a good process to verify the consumers before onboarding. Some industrial examples include:
- E-gaming : According to Newzoo, there are almost 2.7 billion gamers around the globe and the number is growing exponentially. Since the gaming industry is becoming a hub for millions of players around the world, it has its fair share of challenges. Providing age-restricted games to appropriate players can be significant because they can affect the children.
- Tobacco/Alcohol E-stores : WHO stated that the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products kills almost 2.9 million people annually and the number is constantly on the rise. Considering these stats, many countries have set a standard age for consuming alcoholic products therefore also employ age verification services. And with the application of online verification solutions, it is not easy to access these products online.
- Cannabis industry : Considering the harmful impact of cannabis on consumers’ health, it was initially restricted worldwide. However, with its usefulness in the healthcare sector, marijuana was legalized in most parts of the world. The cannabis industry is estimated to reach 73.6 million US dollars by the end of 2021, states PR Newswire. Age verification solutions are important to mitigate unlawful import and export of cannabis to protect minors from getting harmed.
An age verification system is a technical protection measure used to restrict access to digital content from those that are not appropriately aged.
It is vital for businesses that sell age-restricted content to restrict the access of minors to such products.
Age-restricted industries like online gaming, e-commerce platforms, tobacco, and cannabis must have this verification solution in their system to keep the products out of the reach of minors.