The Skinny on 3-D Security

A post for an e-commerce client aiming to help internal staff wrap their heads around 3-D Security.




It’s no secret: e-commerce is booming.

But the industry’s rapid ascent also gives rise to escalating security concerns amongst online shoppers.

2015 is a year that saw a 36% surge in online spending on Black Friday in the UK compared to 2014, and a 60% increase on China’s Singles’ Day (the country’s Black Friday equivalent) on its biggest e-commerce site.

This mammoth growth means online shoppers are increasingly at-risk of credit card fraud. Merchants must ensure robust security measures are in place to protect its consumers.

Some of the biggest card networks leverage 3-D Security to combat fraudulent payments online. For merchants, 3-D Security is a way to give peace of mind to their customers when it comes to processing payments.


3-D Security is the online equivalent of entering a PIN. It allows customers to register a password to their card that is then requested whenever they want to make a purchase online.

It adds an extra layer of security to verify identity and fight fraud.

For a more seamless checkout experience, risk-based 3-D Security solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent. This means that password authentication is only requested when the transaction carries some potential risk (for example, if the card is being used in another country).

Under the 3-D Security scheme, each major card has its own branded program:

  • Verified by Visa
  • MasterCard SecureCode
  • American Express SafeKey


  • Liability shifts for merchants. Companies operating online usually bear the burden of disputed transactions through fees. However, 3-D Security shifts the liability from the merchant to the bank, and as a result, can protect merchants from fraud-related chargebacks.
  • Increased sales due to consumer confidence. Fear of credit card fraud can often stop people from shopping online. By implementing 3-D Security, merchants can increase consumer confidence.


  • Negative impact on conversion rates. For customers, 3-D Security is an additional obstacle in the payment process. It can confuse people unfamiliar with the scheme and cause them to abandon their purchase out of uncertainty. It presents yet another password to remember and can result in a negative user experience.

Ultimately, it is the dynamic nature of risk-based 3-D Security that presents itself as an ideal way to mitigate fraud and provide the smoothest checkout experience for customers.