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A Comprehensive Guide to Online Age Verification Systems

In a world where technology is advancing at lightning speed, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements has become more complex than ever. Whether you’re in the e-commerce, gaming or alcohol industry – understanding and implementing effective age verification measures is essential.

Discover how to shield your business from the weight of penalties and reputational risks by unraveling the nuances of regulatory prerequisites for age verification that not only protect you from hefty fines but also enhance user experience.

How do Online Age Verification Systems Work?

Age verification operates through the mandatory validation of a customer’s age prior to granting them access to specific products or services, including items like alcohol or gaming content. The methodology of age verification can vary substantially from one device to another.

Age Verification through Self Declaration

This method, while commonly employed by several social media platforms until recently, rests on a foundation of low-security. Users are prompted to provide their age or date of birth voluntarily. However, this approach heavily relies on the honesty of users. The lack of mechanisms to verify the accuracy of user-provided information renders it susceptible to the infiltration of underage individuals.

Credit Card for Age Verification

Another avenue for age verification lies in the analysis of credit card information. The underlying premise is that owning a credit card or maintaining a credit record necessitates individuals to be of legal age, typically 18 or older. This method capitalizes on the financial landscape to ascertain age eligibility.

Age Verification through Database Scrutiny

A more comprehensive approach involves database scrutiny, often exemplified by credit bureau checks. However, businesses can extend this scrutiny to encompass a spectrum of verified databases, including voter registers and utility providers. Signzy’s Identity Verification check stands as a prime example, harnessing a panoptic view across 200+ countries to validate data against an array of registers spanning voter, consumer, credit, passport and utility domains.

Document Authentication for Age Verification

For heightened assurance, businesses can adopt online document checks as a robust age verification mechanism. This transcends the mere submission of scanned identity documents, instead encompassing a multifaceted approach. Users are prompted to provide a photo of their identification document, which is then subjected to meticulous scrutiny. Augmenting this process with a biometric check bolsters the veracity of verification, affirming the congruence of the document and the individual submitting it. Signzy’s document verification offerings encapsulate this advanced methodology.

Facial Biometric using AI for Age Verification

Facial age estimation technology offers a precise age assessment using a simple selfie. Designed to provide a secure age verification method, it eliminates the need to divulge personal information or share identification documents. This privacy-centric approach operates without retaining images or personal data, ensuring complete anonymity. Unlike facial recognition, it focuses solely on age analysis, ensuring a clear demarcation between identity and age verification. Signzy’s biometric verification is a perfect example of how Signzy can tackle this verification method.

Comparing Different Digital Age Verification Systems

Ease vs Risk methods for age verification

If you need an age verification system, your best bet is to find one that bridges the gap between ease of use and security to help reduce risk and ensure regulatory due diligence. With Signzy’s comprehensive solution, you can finish online age verification in just 3 steps:

  1. Users provide a photo of their ID (ex. Driver’s License), initiating a verification process that confirms the ID authenticity and extracts the date of birth.
  2. Approval or denial of the request hinges on the age derived from the ID information and validation of the data against multiple sources.
  3. For heightened verification, a selfie can be requested, particularly in cases where concerns arise about potential ID misuse, such as minors using a parent’s identification.

Regulations Mandating Age Verification in US

  • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): COPPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of children under the age of 13. Businesses that collect personal information from children under 13 must comply with COPPA, which includes verifying the age of users before they can collect personal information.
  • The Truth in Lending Act (TILA): TILA is a federal law that requires lenders to disclose certain information to borrowers before they can make a loan. This includes verifying the age of borrowers before they can make a loan.
  • The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA): UIGEA is a federal law that prohibits financial institutions from knowingly accepting payments in connection with certain forms of online gambling. Businesses that offer online gambling must verify the age of players before they can place a bet.
  • The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Laws: ABC laws are state laws that regulate the sale of alcohol. These laws typically require retailers to verify the age of customers before they can sell them alcohol.
  • The Tobacco Control Act: The Tobacco Control Act is a federal law that regulates the sale of tobacco products. This legislation necessitates that retailers authenticate the age of customers prior to vending tobacco products to them.

Online Age Verification Across Industries

Gaming and Gambling

Currently in the United States, there exists no federal prohibition on selling violent video games to minors. Nonetheless, a self-regulatory framework overseen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is in place. According to the ESRB rating system, games labeled as M (Mature) contain content inappropriate for individuals aged below 17. This underscores the significance of age verification within the gaming sector.

Age verification is also an important part of responsible gaming. The legal gambling age varies by state. Many online gambling sites require customers to verify their age before they can gamble. This helps to ensure that only adults are gambling on these sites.

The most common method of age verification for gaming and gambling sites is through the use of credit cards. By requiring a credit card for account registration, gambling sites can verify the user’s age and identity. Credit card companies have strict anti-fraud measures in place, so this is a very reliable method of age verification.

Another common method of age verification is through the use of government-issued ID. This can be done by asking for a copy of the user’s driver’s license or passport during account registration. Gambling sites can then use an online service to verify that the ID is valid and that the user is of legal age.

Yet another option which was released by FinCEN for gambling site operators was to independently verify the customer’s identity through the comparison of information provided by the customer with information obtained from a consumer reporting agency, public database, or other source.

To read more about how Slots Temple has used Signzy’s latest technology stack for increasing operational efficiency and cost effectiveness: click here.

Healthcare

In the United States, all 50 states have laws that require healthcare providers to verify the age of their patients. These laws are in place to protect minors from being treated without their parents’ consent.

Most healthcare providers use an electronic age verification system to verify the age of their patients. This system is typically used when a patient is scheduling an appointment or checking in for their appointment. The system will prompt the provider to enter the patient’s date of birth and will then verify that the patient is of legal age to receive treatment.

There are a few states that do not require healthcare providers to use an electronic age verification system. In these states, providers can choose to verify a patient’s age using other methods, such as asking for a driver’s license or passport.

E-commerce business

For any e-commerce enterprise dealing in age-restricted goods or services, the adoption of an age verification system is imperative. Such offerings encompass a spectrum including alcohol, tobacco, firearms, ammunition or adult content.

The stipulated legal age for purchasing varies based on the specific product, spanning from 18 to 21 years old. Neglecting this crucial step may invite financial penalties, legal complications and the erosion of reputation.

Industry Wise Best Practice

Industry best practices age verification - Signzy

Signzy’s Advanced Online Age Verification System

As the digital industry continues to evolve, staying ahead of regulatory requirements is essential and that’s where businesses can embrace the expertise of a dedicated third-party identity verification provider like Signzy.

With 240+ APIs and connections with reliable data sources, Signzy can seamlessly orchestrate and automate age verification processes, ensuring compliance while offering a frictionless user experience. Leveraging our reliable identity infrastructure, age verifications are typically completed in approximately three seconds. This significantly outpaces conventional identity verification providers that rely on manual review procedures, often resulting in hours or even days for result delivery.

Signzy emerges as the paragon of such a partner, extending coverage across a staggering 2,500 documents in 200 countries. Our comprehensive scope empowers businesses to navigate multifaceted regulations with ease, ensuring that growth remains synonymous with security.

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