Empowering users with optionality: The future of age verification and estimation

Empowering users with optionality: The future of age verification and estimation

In April, the world's leading experts on privacy-preserving, secure, and reliable age assurance measures came together at The Global Age Assurance Standards Summit 2024 to discuss the future of enabling a safer online experience for children. The event shed light on the evolving landscape of age assurance (age verification and age estimation), exploring the technology and standards behind estimation and verification techniques. 

The need for optionality in age assurance

The age assurance market is rapidly evolving, with an ever-growing demand for privacy-preserving, frictionless age verification and estimation solutions that cater to varying user needs. Currently, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, both online and offline. Therefore, when it comes to age assurance offerings, optionality is key. The market requires flexible and inclusive options that address individual preferences, mitigating the risks associated with bias and exclusion.

Data highlights the challenges bias can cause amongst users. With 1 in 6 Londoners reported to be lacking suitable ID documentation, if the only method presented, this barrier can deter users, leading them to bounce off platforms or seek less reputable alternatives where there are no methods in place. Similarly, a YouGov poll in the US revealed disparities in age and socio-economic backgrounds, underscoring the importance of a range of inclusive age assurance solutions that do not isolate certain groups.

At VerifyMy, we recognise the significance of empowering users with choice. We offer a comprehensive, fully inclusive range of age assurance methods across both age verification and estimation that cater to individual needs whilst ensuring the highest pass rates possible with minimal business disruption. Methods include email address and facial age estimation, and verification methods such as government-issued ID, credit card, mobile phone number, name and address checks. 

At a user level, various age verification or estimation methods should be provided to accommodate differing individual preferences. What may be biased against one person (such as a lack of a government ID) could be another person's choice. Additionally, by offering a waterfall method of age assurance, we ensure that users can continue to progress through the verification process, even if one method is unavailable or unsuitable for them. 

Age assurance solutions proportional to a platform’s risk

Different platforms have varying levels of risk associated with them, depending on the nature of the services they offer and the potential consequences of underage access. Our range of age assurance solutions can be tailored to ensure the appropriate level of assurance proportional to each platform's risk. 

This spectrum of identity authentication can vary from comprehensive KYC (Know Your Customer) measures at one end, to age estimation at the other end. For example, a user opening a bank account will require a full KYC check. Users in this scenario expect a higher level of scrutiny and data collection due to the sensitive nature of financial transactions and associated risks. This is deemed acceptable and expected by users in this context. Towards the other end of the spectrum, age estimation can be used to determine age in order to provide age-appropriate experiences or to purchase 18+ goods, such as alcohol. While the former demands comprehensive verification to mitigate financial risks and ensure legal compliance, the latter strikes a balance between user convenience and level of risk, while addressing age-related concerns.

The key is to strike a balance between the level of data required for age assurance and the user's expectations and tolerance for friction. By aligning the verification process with the platform's risk level and user expectations, businesses can create a more satisfying and efficient user experience while ensuring compliance with age-related regulations.

Introducing age estimation using email address

Our latest proprietary age assurance solution leverages email addresses to estimate a user's age. This frictionless, privacy-preserving method is fair, inclusive, and unbiased; it can be used by everyone with an active email address, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality or any other discriminatory trait, working with no discernible bias. With the majority of web users already obtaining an email address, this method has close to 100% coverage across all web users, and is highly effective at estimating the age of a large proportion of a site's user base.

The email address age estimation is certified by the ACCS to EAL level 3, the highest possible level for age estimation and can process data, returning results in as little as 2-3 seconds. The solution is highly accurate, as demonstrated by the ACCS EAL level 3, which returned 0 (zero) false positive results at +/-18 (no children were incorrectly estimated to be adults). Built to be conservative with age estimation, it will not return a result of 18+ if there is insufficient data to provide a clear picture. This age estimation method can also be applied to other brackets, such as +/ - 13 - offering a reliable and efficient way to verify a user's age without compromising their privacy.


Age assurance is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by advancements in technology, evolving regulatory landscapes, and a growing emphasis on user privacy and experience. By embracing optionality, prioritising privacy-centric solutions, and focusing on seamless integration with user experience, businesses can create a safer, more inclusive, and user-friendly online environment for all.