What is 3D Secure Authentication and Why Is It Important?

The eCommerce industry is massive at the moment and has continuously grown year on year for the last decade. Yet, there have been many massive changes during this time, especially when it comes to security. Of course, with eCommerce, customer and business security are essential, and one of the most common developments to come into the public eye is 3D Secure Authentication.

As a business or even as a consumer, you may be wondering what this new technology is. After all, there are so many security services and protocols out there, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they all bleed into one security mishmash. In today’s guide, I aim to highlight and describe what 3D Secure Authentication is, and why it should matter to you.

So, What is It?

Gordon Day, a business writer at Origin Writings and Brit Student, explains;

“With the long, technical descriptions to the side, 3D Secure Authentication has actually been around for over 20 years and was first developed by the commerce giant Visa. The term 3D Secure Authentication is the name given to a program that basically adds layer upon layer of security and encryption to a consumer or business’s (correctly termed ‘merchant’) information to stop it being read by the wrong people.”

This is essential on ‘card not present’ purchases, such as sales being made online.

How Does 3D Secure Authentication Work?

As the name suggests, there are three layers of security that are added to payment data in order to secure it. These are known as:

  • Acquiring Party
  • Issuing Party
  • Interoperability

This may sound a bit complicated if you’re not incredibly tech-savvy, but the 3D program uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols and XML layers (Extensible Markup Language) to give a digital certificate to each layer of security before allowing the data sending process to be finalized and executed.

On a user level, this process is relatively simple.

The customer will log onto the merchant website and goes to make a purchase. Once the actual purchase process is initiated, the customer is automatically redirected to an external page that’s secure and not a part of the merchant website where they need to input a password (or setting up an account if they’re buying for the first time).

The information on this external page is kept separately from the customer and the merchant and cannot be found from either the customer or merchant party. However, it can remember your computer.

“If someone steals your card and tries to make a purchase from a computer that’s not your own (a familiar environment where a purchase has been made before, also known as issuing party), then a password is prompted. If the wrong password is put in, the purchase cannot be made, and the card will be blocked, thus protecting the consumer and the merchant,” explains Joseph Carter, a tech blogger at Write my X and 1 Day 2 Write.

Should I Care About 3D Secure Authentication?

As a customer, you needn’t worry about this service. If a website that you’re buying from is using it, then feel safe in the knowledge that your details are being protected and are safe from those with malicious intent.

From a business perspective, things can get a little more confusing.

Of course, the security benefits of using 3D Secure Authentication are great because you protect your customers and your business, and you invoke trust that you’re doing the right thing by your community.

However, and there is a however, there is an initial cost involved in setting up 3D Secure Authentication, which can be seen as being way too high for a smaller business. You may also need to pay maintenance fees which can create monthly overheads that you simply can’t afford.

The best thing to do is to get in contact with a service provider so you can see the most up-to-date quote and how much using the service will cost your business. There are plenty of service providers out there that will offer 3D services, so do your research and see which one will best provide for you.

About the Author

George J. Newton is a business consultancy manager and writer at Write my research proposal and Thesis writing service. He helps businesses manage their online businesses and embrace new technologies that can help bring more success to existing strategies. He also writes for Next coursework.