From Static Passwords to Contactless Payments:
The Evolution of 3D Secure

When you make a purchase online, you might notice that sometimes you are prompted to enter an extra password or code for security. This is called 3D Secure, and it is the gold standard when it comes to credit card security. Depending on your card, 3D Secure is also commonly known as Visa Secure, Mastercard Identity Check, American Express SafeKey, JCB J/Secure, Discover ProtectBuy or UnionPay International 3D Secure.
The name, 3D Secure, comes from the three domains that are involved in the protocol: the issuer, the acquirer and the interoperability domain. The main intention of the protocol is to reduce fraudulent transactions and protect customers.
The protocol works by adding an extra layer of authentication to the cardholder, in addition to the standard information required for a transaction. This usually takes the form of a one-time password (OTP) or two-factor authentication (2FA) that is leveraged to help verify that the cardholder is indeed the rightful owner of the credit card.
In addition to helping reduce fraud, 3D Secure also offers other benefits. For example, it helps to protect customers from phishing attacks. Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals attempt to trick people into giving them sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. By requiring a 3D Secure password for online purchases, businesses can help protect their customers from falling victim to these types of scams.
As mentioned in the timeline above, there have been two major versions of the 3D Secure Protocol: 1.0, 2.0. The most widely available version, 2.1, was introduced in 2018. This version included a number of ongoing enhancements to address industry needs for security, performance and user experiences i.e., support for multiple devices and stronger authentication.
3D Secure 2.1 also includes a number of other improvements, such as the ability to send transaction information directly to the cardholder's mobile wallet and support for biometric authentication. Biometric authentication is a form of identification that uses physical or behavioral characteristics, such as a fingerprint or voiceprint, to verify someone's identity. This is an important security measure as it means that even if a fraudster was able to obtain the cardholder's credit or debit card details, they would not be able to use them without also having access to the cardholder's biometric data.
The 3D Secure protocol has come a long way since it was first introduced in 2001. It has evolved from a static password system to a dynamic and user-friendly protocol that supports EMVCo Tokenization and biometric authentication.
While 3D Secure 2.3 is the most recent version of the protocol, it is likely that it will continue to evolve in order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of online payments
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