What Is 3D Secure and What It Will Mean to You for Your Credit Card Payments

How 3D Secure Works

To understand how 3DS works, you have to know the parties involved in any given transaction. In this case, the parties involved are; the cardholder who is the shopper, the issuing bank who is the supplier of the card, merchant, and the acquiring bank.

The process starts when the cardholder is ready to make payments online. On the checkout, the customer is automatically redirected to the 3D secure authentication page of their card issuer. The issuing bank’s page prompts the shopper for a password or other authentication details like fingerprints and facial recognition. With the correct information, the card provider approves the transaction and redirects the cardholder back to the online shopping site to complete the shopping.

This process works so fast that you won’t waste time. Also, it works for those who have already set up a 3D secure authentication with the card issuer. If you haven’t, then you will have to go through the registration process as well.

3D Secure Benefits to Merchants

  • Increase Customer Confidence

One of the concerns with online shopping for a long time has been the risk of unauthorized entities accessing personal details of customers. This is different from 3D secure payments. It protects all the vital customer content. The verification makes it easy and safe to shop online. Once the customers are sure of ease in shopping and security, they gain more confidence in your services for increased sales.

  • Liability shift

Without the 3DS, the merchant incurs all the costs of fraudulent payments. Using the 3DS, on the other hand, the liability shifts to the issuer. The merchant is therefore left to deal with chargebacks from other business activities like when the customer receives broken or faulty goods.

  • Reduce the Risk of Fraud

Secure 3D leverages technology to reduce the risk of fraud in transactions. It creates an additional layer of verification for details. There is also the reduced risk of erroneous transactions that arise from deliberate or unknowingly input wrong information.

Reducing the risk of fraud helps in increasing the merchants’ revenue. It not only helps the business avoid losing money through fraudulent payments but also promotes customer acquisition.

  • International Transactions

Security risks have made it hard for several merchants to accept international payments. With the increased security from verification using the 3D secure payment, most online stores are open to more cross-border transactions.

3D secure authentication also comes with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for secure international transactions. SSL offers server transaction verifications.

  • Security at No Extra Costs

Are you considering including a 3D Secure payment gateway on your business yet not sure how much it will cost? You don’t have to worry. The service providers do not charge you to use the systems in your business.

3D Secure Benefits to Credit Card Holder

Other than the businesses, the credit card holders also gain a lot from using the 3DS. Some of the benefits the systems offer the cardholders include:

  • Access to Several Stores

Some stores are reluctant to transact with shoppers who don’t use 3D Secure. If you want to gain access to several online stores, include international stores, you are better off using a credit card that supports 3D Secure. The stores are looking to ensure they are secure, and in case of any concerns, the liability lies with the card issuer.

  • Security when Shopping

Just like for merchants, 3D Secure provides for protection when shopping. The system analyses your transactions to determine the risk involves. You can opt to complete or decline the transactions depending on the security risk levels. The security is excellent for those who use credit cards for people with no credit, as you won’t have negative records that can lead to poor credit scores.

  • Faster Shopping

3D Secure payments leverage the latest technology to ensure faster transactions. Instead of having to key in your passwords every other time when you purchase goods online, the system allows you an enhanced one time password. Having to key in passwords every time is hectic, and there is also the risk of forgetting, hence higher cases of abandoned carts. The other option for verification is the use of biometrics. Using the latest technology, 3D Secure uses your smartphone’s authentication features like the use of facial recognition and fingerprint sensing.

The authentication process does not take long as most merchants already provide the vital data they need for verification.

  • Shopping from Any device

3D Secure is made such that you can transact from any device. It comes with an iFrame technology for those checkout using a desktop to access the eCommerce site. For mobile users, service providers offer both Android and iOS tools for smooth checkout flow. The ease of transaction in any device reduces transaction friction.

3D Secure 2.0

As much as 3DS has been instrumental in fighting fraud in online transactions, there have been challenges. For example, the initial 3DS did not provide for mobile transactions. That is where 3DS 2.0 comes in. It is a bid by service providers to leverage technology to make transactions more secure and user-friendly. Launched in April 2019, 3DS 2.0 ensures faster and more accurate transactions.

3DS 2.0 comes with additional benefits to the merchants, including:

  • Multiple Device Support allows many people, unlike never before, to access secure online payments. It also supports several payment options like mobile wallets and In-app purchases.
  • Merchant Opt-out as the shopper can opt not to use the authentic for faster transactions. This comes with the risk of liability in case of fraudulent transactions.
  • Stronger authentication by allowing the merchants to include additional customer details like billing, shipping, and email address. This makes it possible for even those who use credit cards for people with no credit to embrace online shopping.
  • Better customer experience by eliminating the need to type a static password for every transaction.


  • How does 3D Secure affect international cardholders?
  • 3DS is not unique to any country as it is accessible to several countries worldwide. Most merchants all over the world have embraced the 3DS, which has seen an influx in international online trading.
  • Can I register for 3DS without providing my mobile phone information?
  • 3DS uses your mobile phone information for verification. Therefore you cannot register without providing the information. Also, update your details with the issuing bank if you change your mobile number.
  • Can I make payments without using the 3DS?
  • Yes, you can make payments to merchants who allow for 3DS free cards. The only concern it comes with is that you are liable for any cases of fraud.

Bottom Line

3DS has been impactful in reducing the risk of fraud in online transactions. The advancement in technology points to even better improvements in future versions. Even though 3DS works just fine, feel free to include your other additional authentication means if you have any. You can never have enough security.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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