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Making digital payments in Europe more secure: PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)

Making digital payments in Europe more secure: PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)



2 December 2020

One of the main objectives of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is to make payments more secure to try to combat the rise in online fraud. This protects both merchants and consumers.

PSD2 and SCA

 

PSD2 is being introduced across the 32 countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) and will affect many financial institutions including issuing and acquiring banks. The directive also includes a mandate for Payment Service Providers to implement SCA. SCA has been introduced to make payments more secure, especially when it comes to making payments online.

 

The countdown to compliance

 

A significant number of operational changes have already been put in place across the industry in order to be ready for PSD2 and SCA compliance deadlines. Most merchants who process cashless payments are impacted by these new laws. But in some cases there will be little or no change to operations, with some merchant types and payment models being affected more than others.

 

There’s not much time left to become compliant, with the deadline coming into effect on 31st December 2020 (14th September 2021 in the UK). However, there is still time to understand how it could impact your business. Protect your customers and your revenue, and learn how we can help you get ready for SCA compliance.

 

What is SCA?

 

SCA is a way to improve the payment experience for both merchants and consumers, by enhancing security. SCA adopts a new set of rules which changes how consumers confirm their identity when making purchases. 

SCA Factors

Knowledge

Something only the user knows. E.g. Password or PIN.

Possession

Something only the user has. E.g. mobile phone with one time passcode.

Inherence

Something only the user is. E.g. fingerprint.

Consumers need to provide at least two SCA factors when making a payment. This is referred to as multi-factor or 2-factor authentication. Therefore some transaction types such as manual Pan Key Entry transactions or non-authenticated transactions, will no longer be accepted by EEA Issuers.

 

It’s important to note however that not all payment transactions are required to undergo SCA. As such, these are classified as exemptions. Physical Chip & PIN transactions processed in a Card Present environment, eg. a retail store, are already deemed SCA compliant, as multi-factor authentication happens already. Furthermore Contactless transactions are one of the exemptions. So far, this is great news for many merchants.

 

When it comes to online payments, PSD2 mandates SCA here, and so merchants need to be prepared for some changes.

SCA for online payments

 

3D Secure is the additional authentication step we all see online after we’ve entered our card details, and it has been in use for the last 20 years. With PSD2, a new version of 3D Secure has now been launched with updated features to increase security and offer a better shopper experience.

 

3D Secure 2.x delivers 10 times more information in the data exchange between merchants and issuers during an online payment making it easier to verify a shopper’s identity. It avoids the need for a shopper to authenticate with a password, which speeds up the authentication process giving them a quicker, simpler experience. Furthermore, 3DS 2.x is optimised for mobile devices, which all adds to a smarter, more convenient process.

 

For those Merchants accepting online payments, they now need to implement 3DSecure version 1 onwards, preferably version 2.1 at a minimum, for online transactions to be SCA compliant.

Exemptions to SCA

 

PSD2 has outlined a range of payment transactions and scenarios where SCA exemptions apply. Key exemptions include, as stated previously, low value payments including Contactless. Transactions under €50 do not require SCA, but after 5 consecutive low value transactions, or the sum exceeds €150, the cardholder will be prompted for SCA authentication.

 

Unattended transactions for Parking & Transit industries are also exempt, regardless of amount. Recurring subcription payments are exempt, as long as SCA is applied on the first payment or if the amount changes.

 

Out of scope Transactions

 

Other payment types similar to recurring payments, including pre-payments, delayed charges, card on file etc are all payments which are being started by the merchant. For these Merchant Initiated Transactions (MIT), a framework has been provided, which ensures that merchants and their customers have an agreement in place.

 

This agreement confirms how much the payment is, what it’s for, and that the carholder is happy the payment can be processed. SCA will be required on the first payment here, and the reference from each payment – the scheme transaction reference - should be stored for future use.

 

Mail Order Telephone Order (MOTO) transactions are also classified as out of scope for SCA. Both MOTO and MIT’s must be flagged correctly in the payment system for issuers to recognise them as out of scope.

 

How will Planet support SCA?

 

PSD2 and SCA seems to have impacted the travel and hospitality industry the most. It also impacts anyone who makes or receives online payments, including online travel agencies (OTAs), online booking engines and property management systems.

 

But preparing for SCA compliance and the upcoming deadlines is still achievable. This will help avoid declined payments and lost revenue, and minimise disruption in the payment experience for your shoppers and guests.

 

Secure Pay By Link

Give customers a convenient, SCA compliant way, to pay online through a secure URL link. Send direct payment requests via email or SMS message, which is ideal for invoices, pre-payments and deposits.

  • Supports 3D secure 2.x
  • customise your payment page to match your business brand
  • Payments hosted and managed by us saves time and worry with PCI compliance
  • Consumer completes payment on any device

 

How to handle MOTO and MITs

As stated already, both MOTO payments and MIT’s must be flagged correctly in the payment system. These two payment types are critical to get right for industries with complex booking and payment journeys, such as Hospitality.

 

For MITs it is also critical to store the scheme transaction reference. This should be done from the initial SCA authenticated transaction when the MIT agreement was set up. Using this payment authorisation will allow merchants to trigger MITs for future use.

 

When it comes to MIT’s however, some merchants may find it’s not possible to flag them. Or that it’s not possible to store or submit the scheme transaction reference.

 

We are happy to discuss with merchants about flagging MOTO and MIT transactions and storing scheme transaction references. We have processes in place to support these scenarios if you are affected, or need best practice guidance.

 

Recommendations for Online Payments

We would also recommend the following actions:

  • Implement 3DSecure (preferably version 2.1) in all your e-commerce channels ASAP, for online transactions to be SCA compliant.
  • Speak to all your e-commerce payment providers, to be sure they are also SCA compliant.
  • If you use booking agents, ensure they have updated their consumer Terms & Conditions to state they are setting up a Merchant Initiated Transction (MIT) agreements.

 

Get Ready

 

It is important for merchants to assess their payment models and ensure they are meeting the new directive requirements. Failure to do this could result in declined payments, missed bookings, and disruption for consumers who will go elsewhere to spend.

There is still some time left to learn how it could impact your business.

Get ready for SCA. Contact our team of experts today.

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