Biometric Age Verification: How Useful is it for Online Businesses?

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In today’s digital-first age, where nearly every product and service is accessible online, customers can easily purchase any product they require. While this is highly convenient, online businesses that sell age-restricted products and services have the responsibility of building the right customer base to avoid facing penalties and lawsuits. This is where the role of the biometric-based age verification solution steps in. 

The Growing Concern for Age Verification

The issue here is not that age-restricted industries do not have verification mechanisms in place. They do. Instead, the concern arises around the ability of clever underage customers that have the know-how of bypassing traditional age verification checks. As a result, age-restricted products are sold to minors – a situation harmful for both, the users and the company. 

Conventional online age verification methods use the pop-up message approach. In this, when a user opens the website to avail the services or purchases a product, a pop-up message is displayed on the screen which states “Are you 18 or Above?” By simply clicking on the “Yes” option, underage users are onboarded on the platform. 

In other cases, online stores require customers to register for accounts by entering their credit card details or simply verify them through an email-based verification process. While both of these methods can verify the age of the customer, they are quite easy to deceive.

Industries That Require Age Checks

Businesses that require age verification online include social media platforms, online dating websites, alcohol, e-cigarette, tobacco, and vape sellers, online gambling/casino and gaming sites, as well as financial services. Since all these industries are prone to age verification scams, they are in dire need of automated and robust age verification solutions. 

 

The e-sports industry, which is forecasted to reach a value of USD 1.6 billion faces the challenge of verifying customers because of the negative impact of violent games on a child’s mental health. With more than 2.7 billion gamers across the globe,  building an appropriate audience online without verifying age is virtually impossible. 

 

Apart from this, online casinos and gambling sites have approximately 400,000 underage users, all of which place bets and gamble without their parent’s consent. The tobacco and vape industry has a similar situation, where countless minors are attracted to these products and are successfully buying them off the web. 

Avoiding Age Verification Scams Through Biometrics

As millennials become increasingly tech-savvy, businesses are switching from manual verification procedures to AI-powered fully automated age verification procedures. By using the services of an identity verification service provider, online stores that are the prime targets can easily weed out underage customers. 

With the help of advanced technology, such as biometrics, age verification is no longer a difficult task for businesses to accomplish. Today, numerous IDV providers use biometric facial recognition to verify users. This adds an extra layer of verification, as it analyzes the live presence of customers during the registration or account opening stage. 

  • How Does It Work?

With biometric-based age verification services, online stores are able to perform multiple security checks. First, the customers are required to submit an ID document to verify their identity. Valid ID documents include a government-issued ID card, driver’s license, passport, utility bill, bank statement, rent agreement, and other similar official documents. 

Once their identity has been detected, the face verification process begins. In this, customers are asked to present themselves through the webcam or phone camera. The aim behind this process is to verify whether the ID documents submitted belong to the same person that submitted them or not. 

Biometric facial recognition is an automated process. By using AI models and advanced features of “liveness detection” and “3-D depth analysis”, underage users are identified within seconds. By cross-matching the results of document verification and biometric age verification, customers are verified in real-time.

  • Rapid Results, Safer Platforms

In the event that an underage customer has provided fake documents and false information to purchase tobacco or alcohol online, biometric technology enables the company to become aware of this scam. As a result, their transaction is denied. Similarly, dating and gambling platforms can deny access to minors after a thorough analysis of their facial features. Other age verification scams that are easily detected through biometric-based security checks include the use of fake IDs and credit cards for purchasing online games, e-cigarettes, and adult-oriented content.

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