Retailers with an online presence need to ensure they fully support Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) by 14 March 2022 or risk customer purchases being declined.

SCA is a new set of rules from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to help protect customers from fraud when they are shopping online. With increasing amounts of purchases being made online, these new rules will help to ensure that customers are safe when shopping and their money is better protected.

The changes will mean that when customers buy something online, they will be asked to verify their identity, for example, through their banking app or a one-time passcode via text or phone call.

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From 18 January card issuers will start declining some non-compliant transactions, with all non-compliant transactions being declined after the 14 March deadline.  Retailers are therefore strongly urged to ensure readiness by 18 January 2022 as SCA requests will be stepped up from this date to avoid a cliff edge implementation.

Payment providers are ready to help online retailers upgrade their payments process to support SCA compliant transactions, if they have not done so already.

Jana Mackintosh, Managing Director of Payments and Innovation at UK Finance said: “Fraud is a growing problem, with criminals stealing more than £750 million in the first half of 2021 alone. That is why it is more important than ever that additional protections like Strong Customer Authentication are put in place. For retailers, implementing SCA will provide customers peace of mind that payment processes are more secure. 

 “The industry and stakeholders have worked tirelessly to get ready for this change and we encourage any retailers who have not yet implemented SCA to act as soon as possible to ensure the new protections are available to all.”

The deadline for SCA was originally March 2021 but the FCA agreed to a delay to 14 March 2022 due to Covid-19. The FCA has stated that there will be no further extensions to this deadline.