A Quick Guide to Secure Customer Authentication (SCA)

17 Dec 2020

Secure Customer Authentication (SCA) goes live in the UK on 1st September 2021, thankfully much later than the launch date for Europe of 31st December 2020.

However, there are two reasons why retailers should be aware of the changes as soon as possible

  • If you have ecommerce it will affect any transactions you take originating outside of the UK from the 1st January
  • All retailers in the UK will see an increase in the number of ‘soft declines’ when accepting card payments. This means a customers contactless transaction will be declined and the consumer will be asked to “Dip” the card and enter their PIN more frequently. This request will happen depending on the cumulative use and spend on contactless payments prior to this transaction setting a challenge request from the Acquirer.

An important part of preparing your business will be to make sure your staff are aware. When a customers’ card is declined, it may not be a problem with their card but the increase in security testing. In these situations, it may be useful to let the customer know that it’s nothing to be concerned about and they can still pay for their goods by entering their PIN.

Honest Theft

Honest Theft is when a consumer pays by contactless and hears a bleep and walks away thinking they have paid when in fact it is a soft decline, this can particularly be an issue in shops offering self-checkout. One High Street store is experiencing 1000’s of these instances each month.

SCA could mean retailers suffer from an increased number of cases of honest theft so it’s important to ensure all staff are aware and keep an eye out for declined transactions.

What to do next?

SCA is coming to the UK in September so we recommend getting prepared by informing staff and making a note in the diary when the Christmas rush is over to contact your Acquirer or Gateway to see if you are SCA ready.

Keep an eye out here on the Bira website for more information and sign up for the Bira newsletter to receive retail-related updates via our weekly newsletter straight to your inbox.

Read our full guide to SCA here

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