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3D Secure

Last updated: 20th September 2022

Authenticate your customers' payments with 3D Secure to reduce fraud and meet regulatory requirements.

We currently support versions up to, and including, 2.2.0 of the 3D Secure protocol.


What is 3D Secure?

3D Secure (3DS) – commonly known by its branded names: Visa Secure, Mastercard Identity Check, American Express SafeKey, and Diners Club ProtectBuy – requires customers to complete an extra authentication step with their card issuer when making a payment. Typically, you direct the customer to their bank’s website where they enter a password or a code sent to their phone to verify the payment. This helps protect you from fraud and makes payments more secure.


3D Secure 2

The latest version of 3D Secure – 3D Secure 2 (3DS2) – improves the checkout experience compared to 3D Secure 1. It uses a wider range of data and biometric authentication to allow for “frictionless authentication”, meaning a smoother, more secure payment flow for both you and your customers. If you do business in Europe, it's the best way to comply with the new Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements introduced by the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).


How 3D Secure 2 works

With 3DS2, you can embed the authentication process in your checkout flow, making for a better user experience compared to the original 3DS.

Whenever a customer makes a payment, 3DS2 allows the merchant and a payment provider like us to send over 100 data elements (like the customer's shipping address, device ID and payment history) to the cardholder's bank to assess its risk level. And this all takes place behind the scenes within your web or mobile checkout flow.

Based on this data, the customer's bank will then choose to immediately authenticate the payment (frictionless flow or ask for more information before authenticating the payment (challenge flow).

Frictionless flow

If the data is sufficient for the bank (so they trust that it is the cardholder making the payment), the payment will qualify for frictionless authentication and complete without affecting the customer's experience.

Challenge flow

If the bank decides it needs more proof, the authentication will follow the challenge flow and your customer will be prompted for additional information to authenticate their payment.

Liability shift

If the 3DS authentication is successful (whether following the frictionless or challenge flow), the liability for the payment is passed to the bank, protecting you from fraudulent transactions. However, if a payment relies on one of the exemptions mentioned above, the liability remains with you, the merchant.


What is liability shift, and when does it occur?

This is when the liability for fraud-related chargebacks (for instance, your customer denies they made the purchase, suspecting someone has stolen their card details) shifts from you to the card issuer.

As a general rule, the shift occurs when a payment is successfully authenticated with 3DS.

Specifically:

  • If the card is enrolled for 3DS and authentication is successful, the liability shifts from you to the issuer, and you can authorize the payment. See Electronic Commerce Indicator (ECI) values 05 / 02.
  • If you attempt authentication but the issuer doesn't support 3DS or its access control server doesn't respond, the liability shifts to the issuer, as long as the attempt includes a cryptogram (CAVV/AVV) from the card scheme's directory server. See ECI 06 (non-Mastercard) / 01.
  • If the card supports 3DS but authentication could not be attempted for technical reasons (for example, there's a network error, or the customer closes the window during verification), liability remains with you, but you can decide whether or not to authorize the transaction. See ECI 07 (non-Mastercard) / 00.
  • If authentication fails because the cardholder does not pass the challenge, liability remains with you and you should not proceed with the payment. See ECI 07 (non-Mastercard) / 00.
  • Mastercard also has some rules specific to 3DS2. See Mastercard ECIs 04, 06, 07.

Visa, American Express, and JCB liability shift rules

Transaction typeElectronic Commerce Indicator3D Secure versionLiability shift

3DS authentication was successful; transaction secured by 3DS.

05

3DS1 and 2

Yes

3DS authentication was processed by a stand-in service, and is classed as successful.

06

3DS1 and 2

Yes (where a cryptogram was included in the attempt)

3DS authentication either failed or could not be attempted.

07

3DS1 and 2

No

3DS authentication either failed or could not be attempted.

07

3DS1 and 2

No

Mastercard liability shift rules

Transaction typeElectronic Commerce Indicator3D Secure versionLiability shift

3DS authentication either failed or could not be attempted.

00

3DS1 and 2

No

3DS authentication was processed by a stand-in service, and is classed as successful.

01

3DS1 and 2

Yes (where a cryptogram was included in the attempt)

3DS authentication was successful; transaction secured by 3DS.

02

3DS1 and 2

Yes

Frictionless authentication via the Mastercard Identity Check Data Only service.

04

3DS2

No

Transaction is out of scope or exempt rom Strong Customer Authentication.

06

3DS2

No

3DS authentication was successful; recurring transaction secured by 3DS.

07

3DS2

Yes


Our 3D Secure solution

You can request 3D Secure payments by using our Unified Payments API, or the Sessions API – our standalone solution that uses the EMV 3D Secure (3DS) protocol.