3D Secure Authentication In A Nutshell


With technology growing more and more sophisticated these days, it’s not surprising to see eCommerce evolving with the times. Nowadays, people are buying things online through eCommerce sites anytime, anywhere.

However, as technology evolves, so do cybercriminals. With Business Wire reporting a devastating 81% increase in cyber-attacks since the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now important for eCommerce sites to protect its customers in every way possible. One of the most common ways of doing this is through 3D secure authentication. What is it? And can it truly stop cybercriminals in their tracks?

This quick overview will attempt to explain 3D secure authentication in a nutshell. Let’s dive in!

The Problem

With eCommerce platforms growing evermore popular online, it’s no wonder consumers are opening up their wallets to pull out their credit or debit cards more. This has led to a major increase in card-not-present (CNP) payments, which offer more convenience for those just wanting to buy something really quick without having to enter their payment method information over and over again. However, time and time again, cybercriminals would take advantage of CNP, which has caused consumer information to be stolen and compromised.

“That’s why it’s important for there to be extra layers of protection for consumer data, as they shop eCommerce storefronts. And, one such way to protect consumer data is 3D secure authentication” says Lucas Hill, a business writer at Write my X and 1 Day 2 write.

What Is It?

3D secure authentication is when eCommerce platforms add an additional step, when dealing with a card transaction online. This includes transactions made by shoppers and vendors alike.

When 3D Secure is turned on, it’ll ask the cardholder to validate every transaction with a PIN code. Cardholders can’t share this special code with anyone. Once the code is implied, another code will be needed if the user backs out or refreshes their screen.

As for the “3D” part, it actually stands for “three domains.” Here are the three domains at first glance:

  • The first domain is the card issuer (e.g., Mastercard, Visa, etc.)
  • The second domain is the retailer that’s receiving the payment (e.g., Amazon); and
  • The third domain is the 3DS infrastructure platform that serves as the secure go-between for the consumer and the retailer.

How Does It Work?

While 3D secure authentication was first introduced sometime in the new millennia, it was in 2015 that its latest version promoted a less intrusive authentication process. It prevented cart abandonments that would normally occur frequently during the original 3DS, which redirected users to their bank’s website to authenticate transactions.

Nowadays, merchants are required to send authentication data along with payment card information to verify the transaction’s authenticity. “If a suspicious transaction has occurred, it would alert the user via text message or confirmation code via an app to verify their identity. Thus, this gives the consumer a less disruptive experience when shopping online” says Thomas Gates, a journalist at Origin Writings and Brit student.

The Benefits?

As you can tell so far, 3D secure authentication is about protecting consumers and vendors when it comes to card transactions. Here are some of the benefits that people can expect with 3D secure:

  • 3D secure can help to reduce online fraud by protecting cardholder data, thus increasing customer confidence when shopping on an eCommerce platform.
  • 3D secure can help minimize the risk of chargebacks by checking whether a buyer is a legitimate cardholder.
  • 3D secure lets vendors shift chargeback liability to your buyer’s card issuer, thus allowing them to dispute chargebacks.

The Downside?

But, with that said, there are some notable setbacks that come with 3D secure authentication.

One setback is that some users might not know if a 3D Secure pop-up is legitimate or spam. Since 3D secure pop-up may seem spammy at first glance, that can turn users off. But the truth is, 3D secure only has users uses one-off codes to complete their transaction.

Another setback is that 3D secure authentication adds time onto the checkout process when the shopper has to verify themselves. However, this process only takes a few seconds of the shopper’s time.


It was 3D secure authentication explained in a nutshell. As you can see, 3D secure will continue to evolve as eCommerce does the same. Having extra layers of protection in eCommerce means more peace of mind.

About Author:

George J. Newton is a writer and editor at Write my essay and PhD Kingdom. He is also a contributing writer for Buy coursework. As a content writer, he writes articles about cryptocurrency, coding, cybersecurity, and gaming.

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