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A Brief Guide to 3D Secure Authentication And How It Works

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The E-commerce domain has become more prevalent than people realise, which is why Visa and Mastercard have come up with a collaborative project termed 3D secure. In this blog, we will learn about 3D secure and 3D secure authentication, its various advantages, how 3D secure works, and the improved 3D secure 2.0. 

In spite of the vast interest of various banks in protecting the security and integrity of online transactions, the fact is still prevalent that online fraudsters and hackers have engaged in various malpractices related to cybercrime, adding to the worries of the cyber security professionals, which means that your online data and bank account details are also not considered as safe. But, the good news is many financial institutions have tried to improve cyber security protocols for the products and services that the financial institutions are constantly releasing. One such collaborative project of Visa and Mastercard on the security of online transactions is 3D secure, involving additional layers of security for debit and credit card transactions. Thus, making 3D secure debit cards and 3D secure credit cards a reality.  Let’s get ahead and learn about 3D secure authentication.

Did you know? 3DS is an acronym for “ Three Domain Server.”

What Is 3D Secure Authentication? 

3DS authentication, or 3D secure authentication, is a collaborative project from Visa and MasterCard, which involves providing additional security towards transactions made through debit or credit cards by individuals. It is also known as payer authentication and is a security protocol to prevent online fraud through debit or credit card transactions. This additional security is branded with “ Verified by Visa” and “Mastercard SecureCode”, respectively.

3D security authentication is often termed 3DS and is considered a technical standard that adds a strong layer of security, which is hard to breach in any kind of online debit or credit card transaction. 

Also Read: All About UPI– United Payments Interface

Advantages of 3D Secure

There is a list of various advantages attached to 3D secure, some of which are as follows:

  • Its major benefit is it protects both the user and the merchant from any kind of threat towards payment fraud.
  • By completing an additional security check through 3D secure, the bank becomes more safe.
  • Chargebacks start filling up and are frequently seen during traditional payment processors cancelling any kind of services to online merchants when they are hit with a “High-Risk Merchant” label. 3DS reduces the chargebacks, and fewer chargebacks would also mean more money in your pocket.
  • 3DS doubles the number of checkpoints of any kind of average transaction made, which makes hacking a transaction a much more difficult  task.

How Does 3D Secure Work?

3D security is made up of three layers, which involves the acquisition, issuer and interoperability domain. Each of these layers has its own set of encryption and security protocols to adhere to, multiplying the already additional security provided by 3Ds to an exponential amount.

The cardholder needs to provide proof of their identity by entering a unique passcode, 3D secure PIN details, and a given SMS code to complete any kind of online transaction over the internet. This involves a detailed six-step process of verification and encryption, which are as follows:

Also Read: UPI Transaction Limit 2023: Of 105 Banks Along With SBI and HDFC

Step 1: Collection of Card Information

 First, the 3D secure credit or debit cardholder willing to pay for the goods purchased or services needs to enter the card data with which the cardholder is willing to pay for the amount due.

Step 2: 3D Secure Enrollment Confirmation

After the cardholder enters the card-related data, the system checks whether the card is registered with the 3D secure authentication protocol. If 3D secure enrolment is confirmed, then the process goes on to the next step.

Step 3: Redirecting to the 3D Secure Page Provider

Once 3D secure enrolment is confirmed, the client is then redirected to the 3DS page, where they are required to authenticate themselves to the prevalent issuing bank by entering the password or a one-time PIN. They will also be provided with a one-time authentication code which will be e-mailed to the e-mail address confirmed by the cardholder or sent to the mobile number confirmed by the cardholder.

Step 4: Redirection to the Merchant’s Website

Once the authentication by the cardholder is deemed to be successful or accurate, the cardholder will then be redirected to the website of the merchant for the purpose of payment confirmation.

Step 5: Authorization and Confirmation of Payment

The acquirer then authorises the transaction to be made, and once the cardholder is back on the merchant’s site, the customer receives confirmation of the successful payment.

What Is 3D Secure 2.0?

It can be a tough task when you have to decide between a higher conversion rate or chances of a lower risk of online fraud. That’s why a much more enhanced and improved security and encryption protocol has been developed, termed a 3D secure 2.0 protocol. Through this protocol, merchants can now prevent any kind of online fraud and deliver exemplary customer experience to their clients. Let’s look at 3D security authentication 2.0 in detail:

  • The purpose of the newly designed 3D secure protocol is to ensure that there is improvement in the facilitation of information between the parties involved in a transaction.
  • 3D secure 2.0 simplifies the entire payment process. Instead of the requirement of remembering passwords in the old version 1.0, the 3Ds 2.0 security protocol is considered token-based, and biometric authentication, like facial or voice recognition mechanisms, is enabled.
  • The newly designed 3D secure 2.0 security protocol has ensured fewer checkout hassles for the customers, with a much shorter waiting time and a lesser number of passwords to remember. Most importantly, 3D secure 2.0 requires much lesser steps to complete the purchase than it was required to go through in the older version 1.0
  • Unlike the earlier 3D secure version 1.0, the new version supports non-browser-based payment methods involving wearables, any kind of in-app purchases, mobile payments and digital wallets.
  • The new version of 3DS, i.e. 2.0, ensures a much-improved risk assessment process. When it comes to the approval and decline of any 3DS 2.0 transaction, an approximate number of 100 data points are directly transferred to the issuing bank, which is almost ten times the number of data points in the earlier protocol.

Due to these changes, the merchants will clearly get fewer cart abandonments and an increased conversion rate. 3DS 2.0 security protocol has reduced checkout time by approximately 83%, and cart abandonments decreased by about 70%.

Also Read: What Are Debit and Credit? Bookkeeping Basics Explained

Importance of 3D Secure 2.0

3D secure 2.0 is vastly important in the current scenario due to the following reasons:

  • With the evolution of e-commerce, 3D secure authentication also needs to evolve and upgrade itself to keep up with the change in technology in the present times and offer customers a hassle-free checkout process.
  • The newly introduced 3D secure authetication 2.0 is considered a huge leap forward towards the world of online payments.  Not only does the newly improved technology offer a much smoother and hassle-free shopping experience, but it also takes the security of online payments to a whole new different level.


This was all about what is 3D security authentication, what are its various advantages, how the mechanism of 3DS authentication works, and what is 3D secure 2.0 and its importance in the prevailing market scenario. With the help of the information shared in this blog, our readers will be able to get a brief idea about what 3D security is and its importance and advantages in the prevailing market situation.

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