With the flurry of work to comply with SCA requirements in the rear view mirror, it's time for businesses to focus on evolving and optimizing their authentication strategy, and in 2022, the stakes are high. Our consumer research found that a quarter of European consumers have abandoned their transactions at least once in the past year due to additional authentication requirements. To put it frankly: sales revenue is at stake.
Recognizing the business need for an evolving authentication solution, we've significantly enhanced our Authentication product. Built with tomorrow in mind as much as today, the enhancements give businesses more control, smarter machine learning optimizations and the ability to develop and test SCA strategies on a global scale.
In line with the theme of evolution, here are the challenges we've heard businesses face around authentication and how our enhanced solution will solve them, especially in the changing landscapes of 2022/2023.
Empowering data-informed decisions
There are thousands of data points and optimization routes businesses can use to authenticate a payment optimally, and it can be complex. But these are frequently changing (sometimes daily). Hard and soft transaction declines can occur due to changes in issuer preference, new 3DS versions, decommissioning of old versions like 3DS1, changing technology, and even how optional data is presented with a transaction. One day an authentication message and route works; the next, not so much—which means lost revenue for your business.
To combat this and simplify the complex nature of SCA, we've doubled down on our machine learning capabilities so that as new scenarios arise, we can respond, test and scale authentication optimizations across our platform. Connected to this are two key considerations we believe will set you up for success in 2022/2023.
- Take soft data points seriously: Using machine learning, we utilize soft data to find new authentication routes and ensure friction-free customer experiences—and it's not always intuitive which data points will make a difference. For example, we've seen that sending device screen size as optional data can impact authentication outcomes with certain issuers. It's also worth considering what soft data you send us that can be utilized. For example, the lifetime of a customer or last purchase date could be used to build higher issuer confidence, which can result in frictionless customer experience outcomes: a win-win, as they say.
- Optimize throughout the lifecycle: Authentication is multi-faceted, which means a one-trick optimization approach simply won't work. For example, a transaction could be sent without 3DS information. In response, an issuer soft declines, requesting SCA. In this situation, we will automatically recover the transaction by performing the relevant follow-up calls, which is invisible to the customer. In these situations, it's important to have a payment partner that automatically assesses and enriches transactions before, during and after they're sent.
Here's a sample of the optimizations we perform at Checkout.com across the lifecycle of a payment.
Exemption optimization: Automatically apply the best-performing exemption
3DS Protocol optimization: Using the best-performing 3DS version for a specific issuer
Soft retries optimization: Automatically upgrading a transaction to 3DS
Adapting to changing behaviors: Continuously tests 3DS version appetite
Lastly, we know that some businesses require less support from machine learning, especially those that wish to build, test and optimize their own SCA strategies. It's for this reason we've enhanced our Authentication product with rule-based SCA. With this enhancement, you can get the best of both worlds: machine learning plus hyper-custom rules that are tailored to your business needs.
A one-stop (global) authentication shop
In the payments game, it's often about acceptance performance (ie, sales revenue) and global coverage (ie, widening the customer base), which results in merchants having either one or multiple payment partners on the books.
Both multi- and single-payment partner set-ups have pros and cons. However, businesses adopting a multi-provider strategy often experience unnecessary fragmentation and complexity when it comes to authentication. This can range from challenges surrounding configuring and reconciling data and optimizing different authentication systems to unnecessary resource expenditure, sub-optimal customer experience and missed opportunities.
At Checkout.com, we believe in the power of an open ecosystem which is why we’ve added a Standalone option to our Authentication offering. With this, you can centralize all your authentication traffic into one place. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of our set-up options:
Ultimately, your authentication strategy shouldn't be restricted by your payment provider's setup, so we've introduced our standalone option. Your authentication strategy should be built to your unique goals and objectives.
The age of experience
The final piece to consider as SCA matures is customer experience. The days of 3DS being your checkout's conversion killer have passed and been replaced by the ability to offer delightful—yes, delightful—seamless customer experiences.
The first decision is deciding whether to build a custom experience over using an out-of-the-box option that handles data collection and customer experience.
If you take the custom route, be it native in-app or online, here's what you need to consider when updating your authentication flows:
At Checkout.com, we offer both hosted (API, Android & iOS SDKs) and non-hosted (API) options. We also have other integrations, such as Hosted Payments Page, Payment Links and iFrames. No matter your needs, we have the tools.
Are you ready for next-generation authentication?
The next chapter of SCA is here. With 3DS1 being sunsetted and peak season approaching, now is the time to evaluate whether your solution is preparing you for the best authentication experience, especially with the release of 3DS2.2.