3D Secure (3-Domain Structure), also known as a payer authentication, is a security protocol that helps stop credit and debit card fraud in its tracks. It was originally developed by Visa and MasterCard and is called “Verified by Visa” and “MasterCard SecureCode,” respectively.

Here’s How 3D Secure Works

A merchant enables the technology on its website, and when a customer uses a card that is a part of the 3D Secure program, the
following happens:

#1 – The customer enters his or her credit or debit card info in the payment processing form.

#2 – SecurionPay contacts a directory server and is notified if the card is in the program.

#3 – The customer sees the 3D Secure page and then has to enter a password or one-time PIN to authenticate themselves. 

#4 – The result of the 3D Secure Authentication goes to SecurionPay and transaction details are submitted to the acquiring bank. 

#5 – The transaction is authorized.

#6 – The customer is quickly notified as to whether or not the transaction went through or failed.

How 3D Secure Works

Why 3D Secure Is Important

As incidences of credit card fraud have grown over the years, card companies have been trying to find ways to protect banks, consumers, and merchants. The beauty of 3D Secure is that it reduces fraud and makes shopping online much safer. Plus, it does wonders for brand loyalty, as it’s so easy to use.

Why 3D Secure Is Important

A growing number of merchants have reported that consumers who use 3D Secure tend to spend more money, as they are more comfortable during the checkout process.

Are There Any Service Restrictions?


Yes, 3D Secure does have some limitations. First and foremost, not all cards are participating in the program. Secondly, it doesn’t stop chargebacks from happening, but it does reduce the cost of fraudulent chargebacks. 

In fact, liability usually shifts to the acquirer and the retailer is protected. Thus, 3D secure is an additional layer of protection for both the consumer and the merchant. 

What Your Customers Need to Know About 3D Secure


While some customers do want assurances that their transactions are secure, they don’t like to go through extra steps for confirmation. Thus, you may need to explain why you are using 3D Secure and how it will protect them.

For example, you can provide clear information in the early states of the checkout process. You can explain how it works and let customers know they’re going to go through extra steps.

Also, you can remind them the extra charge doesn’t cost anything and there aren’t any hidden fees. You can even provide your customers a link to give them more info. Also, you’ll definitely want to display Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode logos.

What Your Customers Need to Know About 3D Secure

What Credit Card Companies Have Implemented 3D Secure?

A growing number of credit card companies are joining the program including the following:

    • Discover – ProtectBuy, which is available on Discover and Diner’s Club cards. It works by sending customers a one-time verification password if their transaction is high-risk.
    • Visa – Verified by Visa allows for eCommerce stores and card holders to use an extra layer of security wherever they shop.
    • Mastercard – Mastercard SecureCode offers an extra layer of credit card security that is designed for both cardholders and merchants to decrease fraudulent behavior in participating online stores
    • American Express – American Express SafeKey is targeted at merchants rather than individual customer enrollment. It detects high-risk transactions, sends a time-sensitive request and gives customers 10 minutes to enter a one time code and/or a 3-digit number on the back of their card.

Should You Implement 3D Secure?

3D Secure is the most current fraud prevention program that provides greater safety for consumers, merchants, and banks. If you’re on the fence, you may want to demo the technology and consider giving it a test to see how it affects your bottom line. You can never do to much to ensure that the transaction process is safe and secure.

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