Strong Customer Authentication
Without a Hitch: Launching SCA as Efficiently as Possible
The introduction of Strong Customer Authentication presents yet another challenge for merchants to deal with this year. But done right, launching SCA offers e-commerce merchants the chance to improve site security, and can significantly reduce payments fraud. Here’s some things to take into consideration to make the transition simpler and faster.
Where Do You Work? Know What You Need to Do, and When, by Geography
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has provided a six-month extension to its SCA deadline, to 14 September 2021. This will provide UK merchants with UK-only transactions with additional time to prepare for SCA implementation while also focusing on their core issues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, e-commerce is global. If your UK business trades cross-border, we suggest you consider aiming to launch before 31 December 2020, when SCA will become mandatory throughout EU nations. If you trade into or out of any of these countries, you could risk declined transactions if your payment systems are not SCA-compliant by this date.
Consider Launching in Phases
Some European issuers have already started to decline a quota of transactions that are not SCA-compliant.1 This means that being ready sooner rather than later is a good idea to avoid potentially losing business. Some merchants may be reluctant to launch now, in the critical fourth quarter, where transaction volumes surge with Black Friday and Christmas. We suggest considering small testing windows—making SCA live on your site for several hours, or a morning, to assess customer response and check for issues ahead of a full-scale launch.
Be Prepared for a Disjointed Launch
From issuers to acquirers, merchants to banks, the entire payments and e-commerce industry will be green-lighting their SCA functions at different times. It’s better to be ahead, rather than behind, other parts of the industry—but be aware that there will likely be inconsistencies and delays as other players go live with SCA at different times.
Lean on Your Providers for Help
According to research carried out in 2020 by travel technology firm Amadeus, the two biggest hurdles facing merchants trying to become SCA compliant before the deadline are the COVID-19 pandemic (65%) and a lack of internal resources (55%).2 This is where talking with trusted providers can help. As a merchant acquirer, we are keeping our clients updated with the latest developments and providing knowledge, insight and support to help make the SCA transition as smooth as possible.
The road towards SCA compliance has been long, and with multiple deadline extensions and amidst the Covid-19 pandemic , implementation may have slipped down to-do lists. However, we view successfully launching SCA as an important opportunity to ensure the most effective security protocols are in place and to future-proof our merchant clients.
Contact your local J.P. Morgan representative for further information on managing the risks, transitions and opportunities the e-commerce community is facing this year, and into 2021.