Today the payment service provider Rixty announced that it had updated its payment system so that it could safely and anonymously accommodate children under 13. Even most youth-oriented payment systems for the unbanked require users to be 13 or older. Rixty's new ability to serve under-13 users through its partnership with Coinstar and prepaid cards comes from strict adherence to COPPA (Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act) guidelines.
Now when children under 13 sign up for Rixty, they will not have to divulge any personally identifiable information. Under-13 users only divulge username, password, date of birth, gender, and zip code. In the final phase of registration, an under-13 user is asked to enter a parental email address, where the parent is immediately notified of the child's registration. The email will contain an option to delete the account or to be notified via email whenever the child makes a purchase.
Rixty's new systems have been reviewed by the COPPA review organization TRUSTe and Rixty is certified as a 2010 member of the TRUSTe Children's Privacy Seal Program. Rixty restricts under-13 users only to kid-safe sites and will not subject these users to any marketing initiatives.
"With more people online now than ever before, the number of cybercriminals trying to exploit consumer information has also grown to record numbers, making third party trustmarks an essential tool for both consumers and businesses," said Fran Maier, President and Executive Chair of TRUSTe, in a press statement. "By becoming a TRUSTe sealholder, Rixty gives its customers a clear signal that it is trustworthy, safe, and respects the privacy wishes of the people who visit its Web site."
Current kid-friendly Rixty partners include Puzzle Pirates Family, Roblox, ourWorld, and Artix Entertainment (developer of Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable). Rixty CEO Ted Sorom has promised to keep adding more kid-friendly online games and virtual worlds to the Rixty catalog of clients, to help increase Rixty's value to under-13 users.
Rixty is one of the first teen-oriented credit-alternative payment services to make a significant effort to expand to the under-13 crowd. It could be a lucrative one, as children are usually very willing to convert when it comes to paying for virtual goods. The usual difficulty with this user group is friction in the payment process, as even access to prepaid cards can be limited.
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