What is a merchant-initiated authentication (3RI?)

In this article we’ll explain how 3RI works, how it can be used by merchants in different scenarios, and how Checkout.com can help you with your authentication needs

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August 14, 2023
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What is a merchant-initiated authentication (3RI?)

Merchant-initiated authentications (3RI), part of the 3D Secure (3DS) 2.2 authentication protocol, allow merchants to generate authentication data for payments without the customer being present.

3RI is an extremely useful tool for merchants, especially if you operate in the travel, subscription, or retail space, and need to authenticate repeat or subsequent transactions without the customer reentering their card details each time.  

In this article we’ll explain how 3RI works, how it can be used by merchants in different scenarios, and how Checkout.com can help you with your authentication needs.

What is 3RI?

Merchant-initiated authentications (3RI), also known as requester-initiated authentications, allow merchants to authenticate a transaction without the direct involvement of the customer, meaning they don’t need to enter their card details again. This enables things like deviceless payment authentication, account verification, and re-authentication of recurring payments.

Essentially, 3RI is a 3DS authentication message that allows merchants to submit data to the issuer so that they can assess and authorize a payment when the buyer is not present. 

The merchant just needs to have the cardholder's information stored from a previous transaction in order to generate the authentication data necessary for authorization. 

By facilitating better information flow between merchants and issuers - allowing them to make more informed authorization decisions - while protecting customer data, 3RI benefits all parties in the payment ecosystem. 

Where is 3RI authentication used?

Merchants can use 3RI in a number of ways, including:

  • Installment payments - when a customer chooses an option like buy now, pay later (BNPL), the merchant can authenticate each subsequent installment without the presence of the cardholder
  • Recurring payments - 3RI enables merchants to authenticate transactions for recurring payments like service subscriptions or utility bills
  • Partial split shipment - if a customer orders multiple items from an online marketplace, but the items are not all available at the same time, the merchant can ship and charge for the items separately using 3RI without the customer having to provide card details for each transaction 
  • Multiple merchant authorizations by an agent - when there’s one customer but multiple merchants - e.g. a travel agent booking hotel and flights or someone ordering from multiple vendors on a marketplace - 3RI makes it easy to perform one authentication for the customer and multiple authorizations for the merchants 
  • Reauthorization of a refunded purchase - if a customer returns items for a refund but they are not all present or in an expected condition, the merchant can charge the customer again
  • Unknown final amount - when a customer is renting a car or a short-stay rental, 3RI allows the merchant to take payments for further charges like damages, late checkout, or additional services

How Checkout.com can help with 3RI

Checkout.com’s one-stop shop 3DS authentication solution gives merchants all the tools they need to fight fraud while increasing revenue and remaining compliant. 

With both plug & play and fully customized options available, you can choose a hosted solution to manage all your authentication needs or tailor your authentication flow to your exact requirements. 

And with advanced Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) exemption, smart retry logic, and rich machine learning, you can maximize your chances of acceptance and frictionless experience outcomes to keep your customers happy. 

Find out more about 3DS payment authentication with Checkout.com.

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August 14, 2023 15:30
August 14, 2023 15:30