Having worked in e-commerce for the past four years, I’ve seen many arguments for and against 3-D Secure (Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode). The majority of these against focus on an apparent hit on your conversion with 3-D secure, which adds an additional step to your checkout and increases the friction experienced by your customers paying for their purchase.


Whilst this makes sense, most of these studies and articles forget that 3-D Secure was first developed by the card networks to reduce the number of fraudulent transactions. In this post I wanted to take some time to focus on the positives of 3-D Secure, and why a store owner might want to consider adding it to their checkout process.

1. Chargebacks can be costly

If one of your customers decides to raise a chargeback against you, there are many ways in which you can handle this. Having 3-D Secure enabled puts you in a stronger position to decide how best to handle one. Transactions which are authorised by 3-D Secure have a liability shift for certain types of chargeback. This puts you in a better informed position when deciding whether to challenge the chargeback.

2. Increase your conversion

It’s been shown in territories where 3-D Secure has a high penetration that enabling it shows an increase in conversion. Research often suggests that the best way to increase the conversion of your checkout is to increase your users feeling of trust, by adding trust seals and card brand logos to your checkout.

Studies have shown that in the United Kingdom; where 73% of all online shops have 3-D Secure on site, having it enabled saw a 2.5% increase in conversion. It’s important to remember however that this statistic varies quite dramatically between different areas, for example U.S. merchants see a drop in conversion of around 43%. These regional differences can be explained by familiarity of and previous exposure to the tool within the market.

3. Help your customers reduce fraud

Alongside the benefits to a merchant, there are also many benefits for your customers. 3-D Secure can help to reduce unauthorised usage of your people’s cards on your website, which in turn means they’re safe whilst showing you’re a responsible, security conscious retailer.

It could also be argued that the more retailers that implement 3-D Secure, the more positive results that all businesses will see. If shoppers have to complete 3-D Secure more regularly, the friction that this step causes to the checkout process becomes less as customers are more likely to remember their password, and they expect this step to appear.

At PAYMILL, we enable 3-D Secure by default, and recommend that all merchants use it alongside advanced fraud prevention methods to reduce the levels of fraudulent transactions experienced by our merchants. Obviously, if your business requires, you can request to have this disabled, but we strongly recommend that you enable additional fraud prevention methods on your website.



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Ben Hubbard

Ben was responsible for planning the marketing for new product launches from PAYMILL, as well as creating content for the partner community. Now working for GatherContent, in his spare time, he builds online shops on the Shopify platform.