The importance of age verification for online businesses

As more and more of our daily transactions are taking place online, it has never been easier for young people to buy products and access services and content that are age-restricted. Although online businesses include basic age checks such as ‘tick boxes’ for users to confirm that they are old enough to buy products and access services, the responsibility is on the customer to be honest. It’s unreliable, and can lead to children accessing damaging products and content.

It’s widely reported that access at a young age to alcohol, adult content and gambling can damage the health of our young people and lead to problems later in life such as mental and sexual health issues. The rise of the internet and easy access to age restricted content by children has become a growing cause for concern for parents, teachers and health professionals.

In recent months, it’s come as a relief that the tightening of the laws around age verification in the adult industry has been a hot topic in parliament, with the introduction of the Digital Economy act outlining the need for robust age verification checks in merchant websites. The Gambling Commission in the UK is also conducting a public consultation on the need to for remote gambling organisations to complete age verification not only for individuals placing bets but also on the ‘free-to-play’ versions of these games.

Online businesses need to face up to the importance of age verification in the same way as ‘real-life’ retail stores and gambling outlets to verify customer age, and the introduction of government regulation means action must be taken.

By enforcing that the website itself is protected, children won’t be able to purchase products, or stumble across content or services that are age restricted.

The responsibility of implementing age verification lies firmly with the website provider. But what options do websites have to enable compliance is met, costs are kept to a minimum, and the customer journey is not disrupted?

Innovative software experts are working with the regulatory bodies to build cost effective age verification solutions for merchant websites to integrate with. AVYourself, for example, builds on seven years of software service gateway experience to bring the AVYourself solution to the market.

AVYourself offers website providers a range of age verification methods via the simple input of either a mobile phone number, credit card or email address. No personal information is required, data is encrypted at point of input and deleted after verification, meaning the website user remains completely anonymous. A ‘yes/no’ answer is returned instantly and the website user can continue on their journey if they are over 18. Easy, quick and cost effective.

Watch out for our next blog posts to learn more:

How do age verification checks work?

How can I stop my child accessing adult content on their phone?