SCA promises safer online shopping for UK and EU residents

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As of March 14, Strong Customer Authentication has become mandatory and must be implemented by all online retailers operating in the UK and EU. What is SCA and how does it affect you as a customer? Let’s break it down.

What is SCA?

Strong Customer Authentication is, for all intents and purposes, a new name for multi-factor authentication. Except now it is required by law that all EU and UK retailers offer this additional security measure upon checkout when a customer makes payment. This has been implemented to reduce online fraudulent activity. Originally scheduled for introduction in 2021, the deadline for SCA was pushed back to March 14 2022, and any retailer who does not adopt the new security measures at checkout may now have payments declined.

A password is simply not enough

We are all familiar with how online shopping works. Simply create an account, which may require additional information such as banking details, delivery or postal address, and a password. In today’s ever changing online landscape this is simply not enough. Scammers are everywhere and they want to relieve you of your hard-earned money. This is where SCA comes in.

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How it works

The new rules mean retailers must check payment before they debit your card. Customers will be sent a one-time passcode by their bank via mobile phone or email when they buy something online, and must enter this at checkout for the payment to be approved.

Alternatively, you may be asked to approve payments by logging into your bank’s mobile app via pin or biometrics. Simple as that, and while some may consider the extra step a pain, another layer of authentication helps ensure your online purchases are secure.

Exemptions include payments via cheque and direct debit, as well as low-risk transactions valued below £25. For recurring payments, such as monthly subscriptions, SCA will only be required for the first payment during setup.

Shoppers across the UK have been urged to ensure their banks hold up to date contact details. I personally use Microsoft or Google authenticator to protect my online presence and to be quite honest, it becomes second nature. It may take some time to adjust, but I assure you SCA is your friend, embrace it.