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Age Verification


Age verification is the attempt to determine the age of the consumer at the time of purchase. Typically it is used for regulatory compliance in the adult, alcohol, and gaming sectors. Key considerations when implementing or buying this functionality include:

  • If a merchant is using a vendor that uses credit reports, they may be required to ask their consumer for Social Security numbers, or for their National Insurance Number if they reside in the United Kingdom.

  • Does the service provider offer guarantees or reimbursement for fines or legal fees associated with the use of the service?

  • Set up a system of “accounts” so age verification is run only once per consumer, not for every purchase they make.


The typical age verification service requires that a merchant provide the consumer’s name, address and phone number. Some services will require that a merchant also provide the Social Security number or national ID number.

Depending on the service a merchant uses, they will either get an actual age or date of birth back. Merchants will still have to do some logic to ensure the age is acceptable, or the service will provide a set of answers such as:

Over 21

Over 18

Under 18

Unable to verify


Some service providers will provide financial guarantees for legal fees and fines if the government comes after a merchant and they used the service. Remember a merchant only has to check a consumer once, so make sure to add logic that checks to see if a new consumer has already been checked before.


  1. Determine which field holds the age or date of birth of field

  2. If date of birth was given, create a formula to determine the age

  3. Create a rule to compare the provided age with their age requirements

If the age verification service provides a descriptive result then check to see which result was returned and make sure it meets the regulatory requirements, for instance, over 18 or over 21.


Age Verification is typically used for regulatory compliance in adult, alcohol, gaming and gambling sectors. It is a tool that attempts to determine the age of the consumer at the time of purchase.

The reliability of age verification is directly related to the country that the consumer resides in. Most of the vendors that supply this service rely on public records to determine age. Some vendors rely on credit reports.

Completing an age verification check for consumers:

Can help a merchant ensure they don't lose their liquor license for selling to underage consumers.

Can ensure a merchant of an adult site doesn’t get hit with heavy fines.

Can ensure a gaming merchant doesn’t get in trouble with national laws governing the age of consumers playing games of chance or placing bets.



Alternative Solutions - Driver's license fax back, Passport or Identity Document Verification; Use of an “over 18” or “over 21” web page in which the consumer has to click on a checkbox that states that they are over this age in order to continue on the website.

Building this In-House - Use a process of account set up in which you ask the consumer to provide a copy of their government-issued ID to keep on file. They fax or email it in to the merchant. A merchant only has to do this once for a consumer, and then they can buy anytime they want. Another alternative is to set up a webpage that asks the consumer to certify they are over 18 or 21 by clicking on a certification button on the page that won’t let them continue if they don’t certify. Make sure you keep a record of this “acceptance” on file.

Estimated Cost - Typically this service is offered on a per-transaction basis. Some vendors offer a subscription-based model for payment.

Sample Vendors - Veratad, LexisNexis, Experian

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