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Online Age Verification: How Can Businesses
Lead the Competitive Market?

Consumers are adopting technology for the better, and so are businesses. With customer needs taking a new turn, enterprises are moving towards the digital space to survive market competition. On the internet, there exist a wide array of service providers offering various products to different audiences. Although many businesses are less concerned about the online age verification of their consumers, merchants providing age-exclusive products face certain challenges. Minor protection regulations for these businesses obligate them to include digital age verification as an essential part of their customer onboarding process.

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Age-exclusive Market

Many service providers offer products that are only suitable for a particular type of audience. Consumption of these by children can cause serious consequences in terms of both disturbed mental health and a behavior change. These particularly defined services make up the age-exclusive market which comprises products and services only appropriate for individuals over the legal age limit. Some industries playing a key role in this market are listed below:

E-gaming

Electronic sports are becoming increasingly important among younger audiences. According to Statista, The total market revenue shared by this industry is almost $774.4 million. Due to the ease of accessibility and a wide array of choices, certain precautions must be taken before delivering video games. Online platforms for Poker and R-rated games are a big chunk of the e-gaming sector which needs to be regulated in light of age verification standards to ensure minor protection since both of them involve a specific degree of violence and addiction.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Since the advent of digitization, e-stores for alcohol and tobacco are becoming popular day by day. Now, people can buy a bottle of wine or tobacco products at the comfort of their homes. This easy access to age-restricted products over the internet has allowed underage children to also indulge in drinking and smoking. According to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act passed in 1984 by the US government, the legal age for buying, selling, and publicly consuming alcohol and its by-products is 21. 

The same goes for tobacco products which are equally harmful to a minor’s physical and mental health. Services providers of these products have age checks on their websites and online platforms to ensure whoever they are selling to is a grown-up or adult. Unfortunately, traditional checks for age verification are easily outsmarted by clever minors which calls for a reliable and accurate system for digital age verification. 

E-commerce

You may be wondering why the e-commerce industry needs age verification. There are a few aspects to this discussion inducing consumption of age-exclusive products by minors and chargeback expenses. Online shopping has become normal with every passing day because you can order your favorite product online, and get it delivered in a couple of days. But, merchants offering age-inclined products have a different setting in the market. They have the corporate social responsibility to ensure their buyer is above the appropriate age. 

Children often use their parents’ payment cards to perform online transactions without their consent. This leads to a chargeback cost filed by a parent when they come to know about the transactions. Having a robust age verification mechanism for e-commerce stores and websites could prevent this from happening since each time a minor will try to proceed with a payment they end up with a failed authentication. This could save businesses a great deal of money and help improve their stability in the market as a reputable entity. 

Compliance Obligations for Businesses

Regulatory authorities impose certain obligations on online businesses, one of which is to perform age verification. The European Union has played an active role in minor protection efforts with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which states guidelines for service providers on how to process and handle the personal information of children. Moreover, in the US, COPPA is the federal law to ensure proper age verification is performed on online platforms providing minor-sensitive content. 

Online businesses that are GDPR and COPPA compliant earn good credibility in the market which helps them acquire more customers and associate ties with other entities operating in the market. 

To sum it up, online age verification is essential to deliver appropriate products and services to younger audiences and helps businesses earn credibility and trust in the market.


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