By Cognito Team on April 17, 2020
Who’s to say whether an online customer who claims to be 21 isn’t just a wayward 13 year old with an internet connection? As a business, it is your responsibility to implement a dependable method of age verification to protect underage customers from purchasing age-restricted products such as e-cigarettes and alcohol.
However, time-consuming age verification processes can easily deter legitimate adult customers, and impact a business’ bottom line. Can an age verification method be highly dependable without compromising a frictionless onboarding process?
Legal age limits hold true for online gambling just as much as they do at a casino in Vegas. Without a sufficiently accurate age verification system, a company can be hit with a pile of fines if they are caught allowing a minor to play.
Gambling age requirements differ between jurisdictions, from 18 to 21 years old. This necessitates a dynamic age verification system that can account for regional variation without the need for many separate onboarding processes.
A wave of legislative proposals may indicate that the definition of online gambling is expanding, with major gaming companies such as Blizzard under scrutiny for the gambling-like nature of “loot crates.” This makes it all the more important for online gaming companies to implement a reliable age verification system to ensure that their products are in the hands of the appropriate audience.
The age verification process when purchasing a video game needs to be vigorous, but not tedious, so that players can get right to enjoying their games.
The e-cigarette industry has received significant scrutiny for lack of sufficient age verification; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits the sale of nicotine products to customers under 18, and several US states have increased the age requirement to 21. However, many companies lack a robust age verification system for online purchases and deliveries, leaving it up to the delivery person to judge if the customer appears underage.
A lax age verification system can lead to legal repercussions for e-cigarette companies. In 2018, the FDA issued 1,300 warning letters and fines to businesses who illegally sold e-cigarettes to minors, including via online stores. This ranked as the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history.
The age verification system for e-cigarette companies needs to be rigorous so that nicotine products aren’t sold to underage customers, while not inhibiting adult access. Ultimately, overly lengthy age verification methods will test customers’ patience and limit signup conversion.
A trustworthy age verification system is essential for any online dating service in order to screen out underage users. The consequences of poor age verification is more than just steep fines— it puts children at risk.
Recently, online dating companies like Tinder, Bumble, and Grindr are under investigation by a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives for allegedly allowing underage people to use their service.
Smart companies are working ahead to avoid the financial and reputational damage that results from failing to use a reliable age verification system.
Not all identity verification services are created equal. Some processes are multi-step and may also require disclosing sensitive personal information such as a social security number. Other services require documentary verification, where customers upload a photo of their driver’s license or passport.
Documentary verification poses a roadblock in the onboarding process— a customer may leave their computer to retrieve the necessary document, and never make it back to signing up.
Customers may even be asked to take a selfie with a document to prove it’s not a forgery. A blurry overexposed selfie may be fine for social media, but when it comes to documentary verification, glitches like this pose a problem. Savvy businesses will benefit from leaving paperwork in the past.
This is a powerful tool for any industry that sells age restricted products. It guards the company against fraudsters and fines, protects underage users from harm, and allows the product to be purchased by legitimate customers in a uniquely seamless way.
For businesses that focus on age-restricted products and services, reliable age verification is not optional, it is essential. Cognito’s identity verification service makes this process frictionless.
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