What Is 3D Secure

The 3D Secure authentication is an additional fraud prevention program that allows shoppers to create a password to their credit card that is verified whenever a transaction is processed through a site that supports the use of 3D.  The addition of password protection allows extra security on transactions that are processed online through eCommerce transactions.  3D Secure requires customers to enter an additional password after the checkout completion to “verify” they are truly the cardholder.

3D Secure stands for 3 Domain Server, there are 3 parties that are involved in the 3D Secure process :

  • The company the purchase is being made from such as yours.
  • The Acquiring Bank (the bank of the company who issued the credit card
  • VISA and MasterCard (the card issuers themselves)

The program is a cooperative effort of Verified by VISA (VBV) and MasterCard Secure Code (MSC).  It is the most recent fraud prevention program available at the moment and commonly used by most companies who have a lot of eCommerce orders such as pizza places like Dominos and Pizza Hut.

3D Secure is also the only fraud prevention program that offers companies liability coverage for transactions that are verified by the additional checks.  This provides additional protection to merchants who implement this program.

What cards can be accepted through 3D Secure?

As 3D Secure is controlled by VISA and MasterCard the following cards can be used : VISA, VISA DELTA, MASTERCARD, MASTERCARD DEBIT, INTERNATIONAL MAESTRO, UK MAESTRO, LASER, and VISA ELECTRON.

What are the benefits of using 3D Secure?

  • Liability Shift: The main benefit to companies using the 3D Secure is the liability shift for a successfully verified transaction. This offers protection by the card issuers against chargebacks as the liability is assumed.
  • No extra cost: There are no extra costs to add 3D Secure onto your merchant account.  Your acquiring bank may charge to add this onto your merchant number however you may also find that your transaction charges are lower as a result of using 3D Secure since the likelihood of a chargeback is diminished.

Are there any limitations of using this?

  • Chargebacks can still occur: Fully authenticated 3D Secure transactions do not guarantee a liability shift, this is decided on the discretion of your merchant bank.

Pros and Cons of 3D Secure


Liability shift. Typically, when a transaction is disputed, it’s the merchant who pays the price. 3D Secure ensures liability shifts from the merchant to the issuing bank. This alone may make worldwide implementation of 3D Secure worthwhile for your business.

Chargeback protection. Verified by Visa ensures you’ll never receive a chargeback on your merchant account. This can help prevent “friendly fraud,” where a customer knowingly makes a purchase and files a chargeback, knowing the bank will side with the customer. (MasterCard does not support chargeback blocking).

Interchange benefits. These include lower interchange fees, and in some cases longer payment terms with your acquiring bank.

Increased online shopping. Fear of online fraud holds many consumers back from shopping online. Verified by Visa claims its product increases online shopping, and suggests customers are more willing to purchase through a site that uses 3D Secure.


Customers don’t understand it – yet.  Customers are not always sure what to do. When faced with an extra step in the checkout process – many will just give up and seek out a seller that doesn’t use it.

Card blocking . Livid customers who have been locked out of online shopping because of their refusal to enroll will increase the number of complaint calls to your customer service line. They may also vow to never transact with you in the future because of the extra step.