How to use age verification technology

Age verification technology

Age verification technology is something that retailers can benefit enormously from. But how does age verification technology work, what are the benefits for retailers and how can you implement it into your business model? Modern Retail spoke with John Abbott, Chief Business Officer of Yoti to gain a deeper understanding of age verification technology.

1. What is digital age verification and age estimation technology and how does it work?

Digital age verification technology (AV) is a modern solution to the age-old problems presented by traditional ID documents and the outdated processes that accompany them. Digital AV allows retailers to check their customer’s age both online and in person, providing greater assurance that people are who they say they are and that they are of the required age for an age-restricted purchase. 

Yoti’s digital AV solutions remove friction to unlock opportunities for retailers with increased efficiency and the prevention of underage sales. Using Yoti age estimation, people simply look into the ePOS camera to pass an age threshold, or not. Their age is checked without revealing any personal data – there’s no registration and it’s accurate to within 1.5 years across all skin tones in the key under 25’s demographics. No image is held after the check and it also works with masks.

Should customers fail or fall under the age threshold for age estimation, they can use the free Yoti ID app. It’s privacy preserving, with customers only sharing a verified date of birth and no other personal details. Their digital ID is verified using a government-approved photo ID and secured using their biometrics to prevent fraud and account swaps – protecting customers and retailers. Yoti accepts ID documents from over 195 countries, meaning we do the heavy lifting on checks for people all over the world so that retailers don’t have to.

2. How can retailers benefit from using this technology 

Following in the footsteps of digital payments, we believe digital AV will revolutionise retail efficiency and reduce pressure on staff who are facing rises in high-quality fake IDs to check and an increasing number of assaults when questioning age. It’s easier to place responsibility on a machine and take the pressure away from staff that have to deal with irate customers, unhappy with staff opinions on their age.

Yoti brings fully automated, streamlined shopping experiences with contactless checks too to help us all maintain social distancing. Every check is consent driven to reassure customers that they are in control and not drawn into surveillance technology and it also can improve regulator and society concerns about retailers responsible sales commitment. 

Yoti digital AV also works online and can bridge the gap between web-based sales and the high street to open up online and delivery-based solutions for age-restricted goods. It’s really about making the journey simpler and safer for everybody, anywhere.

3. Tell us more about how this can benefit shoppers that do not have photo ID

Customers want speed, flexibility and high-value services that complement their shopping experience. With Yoti, there’s “no more waiting for assistance” at the self-checkout, a frustration felt by many customers and retailers alike. The Yoti ID app enables people to add their ID to their phone too, leaving important documents safe at home, one less thing to risk losing and having to replace. 

The ability to check out faster and prove your age with your face (no ID required), means that we can tackle social exclusion and open up a greater range of quality experiences for customers from all walks of life. It’s sad to know that 24% of UK adults don’t have access to photo ID and we can help.

Ultimately, if Yoti saves shoppers just seconds on every visit with age restricted goods, that adds up to a lot of time over the course of a day, week, month and the years. It can also save retailers a lot of time and reduce pressure on staff, who are freed to perform higher-value jobs that enhance the shopping experience.

4. What does the future hold for age verification technology in retail? 

While the technology is ready today – we need to close the gap with regulation and education with policymakers before we achieve our goal of seeing digital AV at every till around the world. Here in the UK, the Home Office has launched the Age-verification-technology-in-alcohol-sales-regulatory-sandbox and Yoti are a prominent solution with leading UK retailers, starting this summer, and which will really help move the dial here and beyond.

On top of that, we are pushing hard to create the network effect that joins the dots and utility around digital AV with many different walks of life and businesses. We are building a trusted network through our unique partnership with Post Office in the UK, giving people more places to use their digital ID and reasons to join the digital identity revolution. Research from Michigan University showed that the average human is accurate to with 4.7 years of guessing ages – Yoti is now at 1.5 years and this stat continues to improve. It will only be a matter of time that more people, businesses and regulations get to try it and realise that it’s a faster, safer and simpler way to prove age for everyone. 

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