As an online store owner, you may be legally required to verify a customer’s age before they can browse your product catalog or make a purchase. For this, you’ll need an age verification solution that goes beyond a simple age gate.
Real age verification is essential for many WooCommerce stores and implementing Sofort Ident in WooCommerce is a viable solution for most store owners.
Sofort Ident is real age verification that’s validated with the customer’s bank account. Previously, this one-of-a-kind service was used primarily in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Sofort Ident has since been acquired by a Swedish banking company, Klarna, and will soon be available all across the world.
With this in mind, in this article, we’ll explain in detail what Sofort Ident is and how you can set it up in WooCommerce in a few simple steps using Agy – Age verification for WooCommerce.
Table of Contents
An overview of Sofort Ident
Klarna Bank AB is a Swedish financial services provider. It acquired Sofort GmbH in 2014 which includes Sofort Paycode and Sofort Ident.
- Sofort Paycode service allows customers to settle payment requests with Klarna direct banking. Paycode can be sent via mail, email, QR codes, SMS, or as clickable links.
- Sofort Ident is a real age and identity verification solution that lets you restrict access to age-protected content on your store for consumers over the legal age only.
In the context of e-commerce, Klarna bridges the gap between direct banking and secure online payments. In other words, it gives consumers the ability to pay for their online purchases with direct banking in a quick, easy, and secure way.
Part of the security that’s on offer with Klarna’s payment service is Sofort Ident. Sofort Ident is essentially an online solution for age and identify verification. Unlike traditional age verification processes (like Post Ident), Sofort Ident age verification can be done completely online.
It’s also worth mentioning that it has been thoroughly tested by the Voluntary Self-Control for Multimedia Service in Germany. Sofort Ident is designed to complete the entire age verification process in a matter of seconds which makes it the perfect solution for online sellers.
You can use Sofort Ident in your WooCommerce store to grant consumers access to age-protected content without any sort of media disruption or delay. This way, you’re able to deliver seamless customer experience through your online store.
Klarna’s Sofort Ident service gives customers the option to pay now using their own online banking details. Aside from real age verification, the major advantage of this sort of system is that it doesn’t require customers to register for an account.
Encryption methods: SHA-1, SHA-256, and MD5
When a customer reaches the checkout page on your online store and chooses to complete their purchase with online banking, their order information is automatically transferred to the secure Klarna payment form.
From there, the customer can select their country and bank and then securely log in using their online banking login details. Sofort GmbH transmits the transfer information to the customer’s bank in an encrypted format and sends the seller confirmation of the transaction with the payment reference. The bank then remits the money to you.
Here, we’ll dig deeper into the different encryption methods:
SHA-1 is a cryptographic hash function that takes an input and produces a 160-bit hash value from it. This value is rendered as a 40-digit, hexadecimal number.
SHA-1 is part of several widely used security applications and protocols including SSL and TLS. These applications can also use MD5 since both SHA-1 and MD5 are descended from MD4.
In addition, revision control systems – such as Git – also use SHA-1 to identify revisions and maintain data integrity. In other words, they ensure that the data hasn’t changed due to some sort of accidental corruption.
However, since 2005, SHA-1 hasn’t been considered to be secure and its use has been disallowed for digital signatures since 2013. Instead, companies should implement SHA-256 encryption in their systems.
SHA-2 is a set of six cryptographic hash functions that are significantly different from its predecessor, SHA-1. Their hash values are 224, 256, 384, or 512 bits. Out of these, SHA-256 and SHA-512 are novel hash functions that are computed with 32-bit and 64-bit words, respectively.
Similar to SHA-1, SHA-2 hash functions are also implemented in security applications and protocols including SSL and TLS.
SHA-256 is also used by Unix and Linux vendors for secure password hashing. In addition, a number of cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) use SHA-256 for verifying transactions and calculating proof of work.
MD5 message-digest algorithm is a hash function that produces a 128-bit hash value. Nowadays, it’s most commonly used as a checksum to verify data integrity.
MD5 digests are used in the software world to provide assurance that transferred files have arrived intact at their destination. It’s also been used to store a one-way hash of a password. In addition, MD5 is used in electronic discovery to provide a unique ID for documents exchanged during the legal discovery process.
At the time of this writing, the Agy – Age verification for WooCommerce plugin only supports MD5 encryption.
Why use Agy for WooCommerce age verification?
The easiest way to implement real age verification in WooCommerce is by using the Agy – Age verification for WooCommerce plugin.
Agy is the only WordPress plugin for WooCommerce that supports Sofort Ident. This means that you can use it to implement real age verification with the customer’s bank account. In addition to this, the plugin also adds an age-gate to your WooCommerce store.
As an online store owner, you might be required by the law to conduct age verification on your online store. For example, if you’re selling:
- Alcohol, e-cigarettes, vapes, or cannabis goods.
- Movies or games that are intended for adult audiences.
- Online gambling services.
… then you can benefit from implementing a real age verification solution in WooCommerce.
The standout benefit of using Agy is that it provides real age verification with the customer’s bank account. This allows you to rest assured that your customers are actually over the legal age and aren’t simply bypassing the age-gate when they land on your website.
More specifically, you can use Agy to add age verification to your WooCommerce registration and checkout pages. It also lets you exclude products from appearing on the shop page if the consumer isn’t above the legal age. The plugin is also compatible with WPML and Polylang.
By now you know why you need to set up real age verification in WooCommerce and the benefits of using the Agy plugin. Next, we’ll explain how you can set up Sofort Ident in WooCommerce using the Agy plugin.
How to set up Sofort Ident in WooCommerce using Agy
As we mentioned earlier, Agy offers extensive API integration of Sofort Ident for WooCommerce. This means that you can use the Agy plugin to set up real age verification in WooCommerce with the customer’s bank account.
Previously, this sort of real age verification service was only used in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. However, since Sofort Ident has been acquired by Klarna, it should soon be available all across the world.
Before you get started, get the Agy – Age verification for WooCommerce plugin and install and activate it on your WordPress website. Here are step-by-step instructions to set up Sofort Ident in WooCommerce using Agy:
Step #1: Create an account and activate Sofort Ident
The first thing you need to do to set up the Sofort Ident API is to register as a merchant at Sofort.com by creating an account. To do this, visit Sofort’s registration page.
Once you’ve created your account, you need to activate the Sofort Ident product. To do this, navigate to My Account > Product activation from the Klarna dashboard. When you’ve successfully activated the Sofort Ident product in Klarna, your dashboard should look something like this:
You’ll notice that the Caption checkbox is set to Project not activated yet, only test transactions possible. For this, you need to fill out your project details.
Step #2: Fill out project details
Click the name of your project in the Ident table i.e. WooCommerce Plugin as shown in the screenshot to fill out project details. On the Edit >> WooCommerce Plugin screen, enter your company’s industry and website address.
For example, if you sell downloadable goods, you’d select Digital Goods using the Industry option and then select Software & Downloads. Or, if you sell gambling services or loot boxes, you would select Digital Goods using the Industry option and then select Betting or Lottery.
Make sure that the return URL is the same URL as the checkout page of your WooCommerce store.
Step #3: Configure plugin settings
The next step is to configure the Agy plugin’s settings to connect Sofort Ident to your WooCommerce store. Here’s what you need to do:
In a new tab, log in to your WordPress admin panel and head over to Settings > Agy > WooCommerce.
- User ID. This is the User ID from your Sofort account.
- Project ID. This is the Project ID from your Sofort account. It appears on the Project overview screen in the Ident table.
- Project password. This is your project’s password from your Sofort account. You can modify the project password directly from the project settings in your Sofort account. Navigate to Extended settings from the Klarna dashboard to do this.
Once you’ve filled out the project details in Agy, toggle the Activates the Sofort Ident API button on to proceed.
Step #4: Finishing up
Once you activate the Sofort Ident API, your WooCommerce store’s checkout page should look something like this:
Notice how there is no option to place an order or complete the transaction? Instead, the checkout page prompts the customer to first verify their age. They can do this by clicking on the Verify your age button.
However, once the customer’s age is verified and successfully validated with their bank account, they’ll be redirected back to the WooCommerce store and be able to place their order and complete their purchase.
It’s a good idea to test out the Sofort Ident connection before making it available to customers. Here’s how you can do that:
Once you configure the plugin settings in Agy for the Sofort Ident API, you can toggle on the test mode that’s built-into Agy. This way, you can test out the entire real age verification process for yourself to make sure everything works as intended.
You’ll find that after you’ve verified your age with your bank account, you’ll automatically be redirected to the WooCommerce checkout page. Your shopping cart will still have all of the items you added to it before age verification. All you have to do now is click the Place order button to complete your purchase!
Verify your customer’s age quickly and securely
Sofort Ident makes it easy for online store owners to verify their customer’s age with their bank account before completing the transaction. It’s incredibly fast, easy, and secure which means you don’t have to worry about any sort of disruption or delay.
The easiest way to add real age verification to your WooCommerce store is by using the Agy plugin. We showed you how to set up Sofort Ident in WooCommerce using Agy and, hopefully, you’re in a good position now to take the next steps.
An easy way to add age verification to your WooCommerce store.