Microsoft Charges 50 Cents for Child Account Verification to Comply with COPPA

MariaHelFutura writes: "One user named pumkinut on the ArsTechnica forums came across an interesting issue when trying to create Xbox accounts for his 3 young boys on their new Xbox One. After registering himself, he came across a surprising policy whereby Microsoft charges 50 cents verification fees per child account (limited additions to 2 per day), when tying to the parent account. "

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Per Microsoft: “Microsoft and Family Safety comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) regarding online account creation for children under the age of 13. To verify that an adult is giving a child permission to create a new Microsoft account, COPPA requires that a small amount be charged to the adult’s credit card. We charge 50 cents for this verification. These charges aren’t refundable.”

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HolyDuck1547d ago Show
karamsoul1547d ago

COPPA mandates any minimal amount (even a cent). Microsoft set the amount to 50 cents, though it's all donated, so there's that.

darthv721547d ago

Maria has a serious crush on MS and tries to hide it by finding or creating some really strange topics.

But like the profile says...."every great story needs a super villain"

4Sh0w1547d ago Show
thorstein1547d ago

This is so weird. On the PS4, my kids aren't allowed to share their names due to their ages. The system prevents them from sharing with even the master acct.

No charge required.

JokesOnYou1547d ago Show
Anon19741547d ago

You'll never take me alive, Coppa!

mk40021546d ago

"Run!!! Go!!! Get to the Coppa!!!"

dredgewalker1546d ago

I'm gonna Coppa feel on you baby!

Pogmathoin1547d ago Show
parentoftheyear1547d ago

Had to do this on our nabi also

RiPPn1546d ago

Yea my sons Nabi Jr made me pay this, I thought it was BS, but looks like it could be the industry norm.

SilentNegotiator1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

This law has been around since 2000??

I remember creating a child account on PS3/360 (with restrictions, for visitors) and never being charged 50 cents...

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1546d ago
Death1547d ago

"This policy was created to be in compliance with COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), for any online account creations for children younger than 13 years of age. COPPA requires a small amount to be charged to a credit card (any small amount). Microsoft have themselves set this amount to 50 cents per child account. All fees received are donated to the National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children."

Sony became compliant to the same COPPA requirements in 2008 when they settled the lawsuit with the U.S. government for their infringements brought on by Sony BMG.

The credit card charge is made to show proof that a parent or guardian acknowledged the creation of the account. The $.50 Microsoft collects is then donated to charity. I have no idea if Sony complies the same way or where the money goes if they do.

A list of possible parent verification can be found here.

FamilyGuy1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

There is no charge to create child psn accounts on Sony systems. PSN accounts are all 100% free, the only thing they charge for is PS+ and those are two different things: a PSN ID being the actual user account and PS+ being a subscription.

Death1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

What form of verification are they using to comply with COPPA regulations? There doesn't have to be a fee for the account to fall under COPPA guidelines.

hakeem09961547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

So Sony is breaking the law .how is that something to brag about?
@Death they said that COPPA requires an adult credit card to be charge so there has to be a fee even if it's just 1 cent.

thorstein1547d ago


They are not breaking the law. The system prevents children from sharing personal information like their real name even with the master acct. I tried it.

How isn't that in compliance with the law?

FamilyGuy1546d ago

First of all who says I'm "bragging"? I was simply stating facts.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1546d ago
bornsinner1547d ago

once again bad journalism.. why must fanboys ruin n4g by voting up crap?

ziggurcat1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

You know, MS could simply absorb that 50 cent charge rather than pass it along to the consumer, and still make the donation.

@ death:

Don't see how MS eating the fee instead of forcing consumers to pay would somehow make them no longer compliant.

And I don't recall hearing about sony charging a fee to verify a sub account.

Sm00thNinja1547d ago

Or don't? Then fanboys wouldn't have anything to talk about on a slow news day

Death1547d ago

The credit or debit cardcharge is made to confirm a parent or guardian approved the creation of the account. If Microsoft didn't charge anything, they would no longer be in compliance with COPPA regulations. There are other ways they can adhere to regulations, but none are as convenient or quick. They can video conference with the parent, send a delayed email that requires verification, or send a letter to name a few.

Either way, $.50 is going to a good cause and keeps them in compiiance with federal regulations. I'm not sure how this can be viewed negatively.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know how Sony verifies/complies today?

mhunterjr1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

Or people could stop complaining about paying incredibly small amounts of money in compliance with a law that is aimed at protecting children.

Or they could just give the child a full account and monitor their child's online activities on their own, instead of placing that burden on the service provider, then complaining about a one-time, minuscule fee; one that goes in full to a good cause.

ziggurcat1547d ago

@ mhunterjr

The amount of the fee is irrelevant. And if it's such a tiny, minuscule fee, why can't a billion dollar corporation just eat the fee, make the donation on behalf of the consumer, and still be in compliance with "the law"?

mhunterjr1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

There HAS to be a credit card transaction by the parent on behalf of the child in order for this form of verification to take place. MS could not simply make the donation in the parents place.

And even if MS could donate for the parent, there's no reason to expect that they should, billion dollar corporation or not. This is a standard form of verification and it's typically handled by most social networking services in this manner. It's by far the simplest and the quickest for all parties involved. To pretend that MS is somehow a bad guy for conforming to industry standards is pretty rediculous. There's no reason that the parent shouldn't play an affirmative role in ensuring their child's safety. To imply that the size of the fee has no bearing is also pretty rediculous. A parent shouldn't be averse to paying $0.50 to protect their child. The idea that 'service provider should, give me things for free' is just entitle bullcrap.

slazer1011547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

Or MS could charge the fee for verification and then credit the card holder back the $0.50. Not that difficult really. It would be a win win for both parties.

ziggurcat1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

@ mhunterjr

Can you point to the exact part if the law that states a fee is required to be charged to a parent's CC? Because it's just MS saying they have to without citing the actual law, which is suspect.

Edit: I've never heard of parents being charged money for creating/verifying a child's account on any social network.

JokesOnYou1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

ziggucat Really bro its 50 cents, no for real it's 50 cents sure micro could have absorbed it but they didn't but it's 50 cents, no really it's 50 g-damm cents. Nobody is getting suckered here and micro isnt profiting, a charity gets some money= win win. With so many legitimate things in life to B* about It's really comical and at the same time sad how some people can find time to complain about something so inconsequential is beyond me.

It's articles like this and folks like you who re-confirm my belief that the main problem with gaming sites *members now is that so many "gamers" on internet are no longer in it for the fun of gaming but rather enjoy "the war" trying to settle some make believe score that no one will ever "win" because truth is if you believe ps4 is the right choice and that's what you bought you won already and I have my X1 so I've won already.

ziggurcat1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )

@ jokes:

50 cents or 50 dollars, it doesn't matter. The issue isn't even about whether MS profits from this (it's been very clear that they're not), and this even about gaming, either. Parents shouldn't be charged to verify their child's account... Post a link verifying that it's a governmentally mandated fee, and not just a penny-pinching scheme from MS trying to cover their own costs.

You really need to come to the realization that your beloved company has a disgusting history of nickel, and diming their customers... This is just another example in a very long list.

u got owned1547d ago (Edited 1547d ago )


MY IQ just dropped reading your comments. What part of the .50 cents charge Is to verify/confirm a parent or guardian approved the creation of the account. Jeez are you that blind that can't even see the logic here. Come on kid use your brain.

hakeem09961546d ago

So you bugging because they make you pay .50 cent that is going to be donated in the first place .are you for real? Also, you realize that Bill Gates is one of the biggest charity contributors of all time ? SMFH .This is why gamers will never be taken seriously EVER

Volkama1546d ago (Edited 1546d ago )

Wow ziggurcat.... just wow.

A card transaction is necessary to verify an adult is authorising the account creation. You have to be an adult to have a credit card. Get it?

MS could charge more or less, and they could:
-Keep the money
-Refund the money
-Donate the money

Only the first option would qualify as "nickle and diming". And that's not what they're doing.

Most likely donating the money to charity gets them out of a little tax or fee on the CC transactions, or they're just being socially responsible.

As an aside, the parental control features on the One are really well implemented. That's the main reason my One will be front-and-centre in my house, and everything else will be tucked away where only I know they exist.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 1546d ago
sovietsoldier1547d ago

then it woudn't be n4g, but its something i have always hated and wished they would not allow.

givemeshelter1547d ago

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