How Do Websites Verify Age? The Ultimate Guide to Online Age Verification

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A click of a button is all it takes.

If no proper age verification methods exist online, minors can access age-restricted products and content in an instant.

Online age verification serves as a sort of superhero on the Internet. It shields minors from being exposed to harmful content or buying age-restricted products. It also helps age-restricted businesses (like online CBD stores or liquor stores with ecommerce) comply with strict regulations, lowering the risk of legal consequences.

You’re probably asking yourself, “How does online age verification work? And how do websites verify age?”

We are going to break everything down for you in this guide. Keep reading to learn why it matters, common online age verification methods, and a simple process that websites can use to verify age.

Why Online Age Verification Matters

Online sales of alcohol and age-restricted products are booming. In fact, IWSR predicts that by 2024, the market for online alcohol sales will reach $45.5 billion. This growth is leaving businesses susceptible to ineffective online age verification. Failing to properly stop and spot fake IDs online can result in lost revenue, lost licenses, and more.

For instance, a University of North Carolina (UNC) study revealed that 45 out of 100 efforts by minors to buy alcohol online were successful. Legal compliance is one of the most important reasons businesses should consider age restriction software.

However, there are many other reasons why it is important to have strong age verification when selling online:

Legal requirements and compliance

The use of age verification on the Internet helps businesses that offer age-restricted products or services comply with legal requirements. It also avoids the risk of legal repercussions should they provide age-restricted content to underage individuals.

Protecting minors from inappropriate content

Minors can access inappropriate content online quickly. Using age verification, adult media companies can prevent underage users from accessing harmful content like violence, pornography, and gambling.

Safeguarding online transactions and services

Online age verification is an important tool for protecting minors from proceeding with age-restricted online purchases. These could include in-app purchases or buying age-restricted products like alcohol or tobacco. In some instances, minors can even bypass age verification if it is not strong enough.

Minors are also an easy target for fraudsters who take advantage of their young age and lack of experience. Age verification makes it more challenging for fraudsters to break through the barrier it provides. This reduces the risk of them preying on minors through unauthorized credit card usage and phishing scams.

Online Age Verification Methods

There are electronic identity verification methods available for verifying one’s identity online, including the following:

Biometric age verification

Biometric verification uses biological or behavioral characteristics to determine an individual’s age who wishes to get access to age-restricted online content.

It includes performing the following procedures:

  • Facial recognition: This involves referring to a selfie, a video, or pre-existing camera footage of the user’s face. Algorithms assess various facial traits, such as eye shape and skin texture. The selfie is then verified with a database containing recognized faces.
  • Fingerprint scanning: The process involves a user placing their finger on a sensor that detects the unique patterns of ridges, valleys, and other distinguishing features of their fingerprint. The collected fingerprint data is then compared to existing records that have been previously stored.

Document-based age verification

Document verification is straightforward: an individual must provide a valid document to prove their age.

It is usually a driver’s license, a passport, or a national identity card. The analysis process ensures the document’s authenticity and extracts specific information, including name, date of birth, and security features like holograms, to name a few.

In some cases, a liveness check is put into place. This process requires the user to provide a selfie or a video, which is then compared to their ID photo.

Knowledge-based age verification

Knowledge-based verifications ask the user a series of questions that only the user themselves would know the answer to. In some cases, users are asked basic questions, like what their pet’s name is or their mother’s maiden name.

Then there are more complex questions that are generated using data collected from public records. Examples would include confirming past home addresses, the schools they attended, and the types of vehicles they previously owned.

How Online Age Verification Works

How Online Age Verification Works

A range of methods and technologies are used to ensure that a user fulfills the age requirements to get access to age-restricted content.

Algorithms and machine learning

Algorithms and machine learning serve as strong tools for verifying age. They come together to ensure precise and efficient age verification.

For instance, machine learning algorithms have the power to analyze ID documents for authenticity and extract information. They identify important elements, such as text and security measures, to detect any signs of forgeries or inconsistencies.

The same goes for recognizing facial features by ensuring that the person in question is the same one depicted in the submitted documents. Algorithms analyze facial features such as skin texture and bone structure to provide an accurate estimation of the user’s age.

Encryption and data security

Encryption and data security have major roles in verifying an age since sensitive information is collected and processed during this process.

Encryption algorithms are used by online age verification systems to change sensitive information into unreadable code. Even if attackers get access to the stored data, they won’t be able to decode or use the information without the encryption key. This ensures that the user’s private data is completely safe.

Overview: How websites verify age

Though every business has its own unique process, this is the general flow websites use to verify age online:

  • During registration, users provide key details like their name and email address. From there, they proceed with the specific verification process that software requires. (uploading government-issued ID, providing biometric data, etc.)
  • Data undergoes thorough analysis and verification.
  • The verification process confirms whether the user meets the age requirement or not. If they pass it, they are granted access to the content. If they fail, they are denied access and will usually be asked to try out another verification method.

How FTx Identity Works for Website Age Verification

FTx Identity provides a quick and straightforward process for helping your online shop’s customers get verified:

  • Step 1: Download the FTx Identity app and begin registration.
  • Step 2: Scan the front and back of the license for validation.
  • Step 3: Follow the prompts to capture a live selfie with liveness verification.
  • Step 4: The information is compared with public data records.
  • Step 5: The verified user can now participate in age-restricted brands.

In other words, this step would be incorporated into a website’s registration process or ecommerce transaction process.

A prompt would be added to an onboarding process through FTx Identity. They would build their one-time verification, and then, after following the process, they could shop or browse content accordingly.

Understanding Online Age Verification Software

For online business owners that sell age-restricted products or content, it’s important that you use website age verifications software. Here are some tips for choosing the best solution:

What to look for in software

First start with these questions:

  • Is it user-friendly?
  • Is it easy to integrate with existing platforms and systems?
  • Will it provide accurate and precise results?
  • Does it comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA?
  • Does it offer secure data storage and encryption?
  • Does it provide strong customer support?

With these questions in mind, you can make a wise investment in software that benefits your business and enhances the satisfaction of users.

Benefits of online age verification software

Having strong software in place for age verification significantly benefits your users and your business in the following ways:

  • Ensures compliance with legal regulations: You can avoid the risk of facing fines and legal issues since you will be adhering to legal regulations.
  • Ensures trust: Online age verification software guarantees the privacy of users by providing secure data storage, ensuring their data is completely safe.
  • Maintains a strong business reputation: Having software in place says to users that you are a trustworthy business that is committed to their safety.

Why FTx Identity Is the Best Online Age Verification Service Provider

Our age and identity verification solution is easy to use and saves time. It encompasses seamless age verification, identity management, and a unified login authentication and authorization system.

Here are some of FTx Identity’s major benefits:

  • The AI-based, multistage verification process allows you to only validate a user’s identity once.
  • It integrates with your existing POS system.
  • The secured, cloud-based digital vault guarantees the safety and privacy of your data. All data is stored in encrypted form, ensuring that only the end user has access to the profile.


Online age verification is a major aspect of ensuring the safety and privacy of individuals, especially minors. With the increase in online activities and internet-based businesses, it is more important than ever for businesses to have strong age verification methods in place. It is just as important for individuals to take responsibility for their own personal information and be careful when surfing the web. At the end of the day, we all have a role in maintaining a secure and trustworthy online world.

If you are ready to take the next step with FTx Identity, be sure to reach out to us today to schedule a consultation and experience a demo!

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Age verification serves as a kind of protector for minors by denying them access to certain online content that can be harmful to them, such as pornography, mature video games, and gambling. It works to filter out any potential online danger, ensuring that any interaction online is age-appropriate.

Furthermore, age verification helps businesses comply with strict regulations and helps them avoid the risk of facing legal consequences.

There are a few possible scenarios:

Most platforms will simply deny access, especially those that contain age-restricted content.

Another possibility is that they will have limited access to specific aspects of that platform without verifying their age. An example would be being denied access to purchase wine from an online specialty shop.

If they are persistently refusing to verify their age, they might lose access to a platform altogether.

With the help of AI and machine learning, websites can be created that include features and interfaces that cater to the needs and preferences of specific age groups, helping to weed out any age-restricted content.

Another popular method is granting parents control over what their children have access to with the power of parental controls. An example would be parents creating a personal profile for their child on a video streaming service with age restrictions.

There are multiple factors that are considered when it comes to how often these processes should be updated.

Here are some of them:

  • Advanced methods: More advanced technologies like AI and biometrics have come into view more recently. This results in a more sophisticated and secure age verification process.
  • Changes in regulations: Be sure to update any process should there be new legal requirements for age verification.
  • Changes in best practices: Be in the loop about any evolving best practices and standards to ensure your process is in line with them.