What Is Age Verification for a Website?

Age verification is a process whereby an identity document is checked to verify if the age information provided is accurate or not. For owners of websites providing age-sensitive products or services, manual age verification is challenging, requires a large effort, and has a high chance of human error. 

To address this issue, many websites and eCommerce businesses use online age verification. Automated age verification systems can perform remote age verification of users from anywhere around the world, with special measures to prevent minors from illicitly gaining access to products or services not appropriate for their age.

Related content: Read our guide to age verification online 

In this article:

Which Websites Need to Verify The Age of Their Customers?

Many types of businesses require age verification, and in many countries this is subject to regulation. You should obtain local legal advice to understand the legal requirements in the countries your website operates in. Here are two types of websites that require age verification in many territories.

Online Gaming and Gambling Websites

Online gambling and gaming websites are subject to the close scrutiny of regulatory authorities. They must run in-depth Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures on the gamers prior to onboarding them. Age-verification is an essential component of this regulation. The primary purpose is to minimize gaming addiction amongst young people. In addition, the majority of these sites are not suitable for children who are underage. 

Online age verification assists online gaming organizations, helping them minimize the risk of non-compliance penalties by offering global coverage of age verification. It lessens the inconvenience of regulatory compliance by producing fast results. It helps organizations retain legitimate customers and helps deter minors.  

eCommerce Websites

eCommerce is a vast market, with platforms that typically include a huge range of products. Some of these are suitable only for adults, while others are also appropriate for minors. These platforms often struggle to manage their audience, as they are subject to regulations regarding age-verification. 

For instance, if an online store sells liquor and grocery items as part of its product range, it will have to introduce roadblocks in its website design to reduce sales to minors. In this situation, online age verification software is an effective tool for smooth risk prevention.  

Why Should Online Businesses Use Age Verification Software?

There are several reasons for online businesses to leverage age verification software, most notably the following.

Avoid Legal Exposure and Fines

The regulatory authorities in many developed countries require age-restricted service or product providers to have information about the customer’s age, including for sales made online. For example: 

Due to these and other regulations, if they don’t use trusted age verification software, eCommerce organizations could face damage to their reputation or legal exposure.

Age verification goes together with the need for KYC—a protocol all organizations should follow to evaluate the risk of illegal activities. 

Provide a Better User Experience

High-functionality age verification software could provide a seamless verification process for your consumers. Organizations are therefore seeking age verification software that is quick, simple-to-use and efficient. 

With a solid age-verification system, legitimate consumers can purchase products easily, without facing interface issues or processing problems. This will likely result in better customer conversion rates, higher satisfaction rates and ultimately, more revenue. 

Website Age Verification Challenges

The following are some of the main challenges for online age verification.

Age Gates are No Longer Enough

With regard to age verification laws, organizations are putting in place age gates on their sites to stop minors from accessing age-restricted goods or adult content. However, they may not be effective enough to stop underage users from advancing further.

The reason for this is that age gates are dependent on the honesty of the user when checking a box to verify their age or enter their date of birth. You can never be certain if the users are honest or not, and there is nothing else to validate the information they provide. 

Minors May Use Their Parents’ ID Documents 

When onboarding customers for online dating sites and gaming platforms, organizations should always verify the age of the end-user. Although identity verification checks tend to include validation of government-issued ID documents, underage web users often use their parent’s ID documents to trick the system.  

Checkboxes and Captcha 

Children check this box without thinking, to purchase products such as alcohol and e-cigarettes. Another mistake that organizations make is adding captcha with several attempts as an age verification tool. It often only takes several tries for a minor to solve the puzzle and create social media accounts or make a purchase.

To stop minors, there is a great need for AI-powered age verification checks that inspect the date of birth against an ID document and also verify the live presence of the end-user. Only then can online platforms enforce minor protection and compliance with the age restrictions throughout the world.

Age Authentication with Online ID verification

Irrespective of whether you own an online alcohol store, an online casino for gambling or sell e-cigarettes, it is your moral (and legal) obligation to make sure the services or products you offer do not negatively impact minors. Age-restricted platforms and service providers often face the question of how to develop an effective way to verify age. 

With rapidly developing technologies entering the market, online organizations can effectively verify their clients’ age to offer appropriate services and content. Online ID verification incorporates biometric verification and authentic documents to help these platforms continue with their operations. An ID verification system for confirming age can verify users with legal age instantly, and minimizes the risk and cost of conventional verification procedures.

Related content: Read our guide to biometric verification 

Online Age Verification with BlueCheck

BlueCheck’s industry leading identity verification infrastructure enables merchants to grow their business faster. Serving a wide variety of industries, our solutions are custom tailored to the unique needs of our customers, including PACT Act and eCommerce compliant offerings. 

Schedule a call with a BlueCheck specialist to learn more about our Age & ID Verification solutions. Ask about price savings when bundled with Payment Processing services.