Ai Editorial: Managing 3D Secure

Managing 3D Secure- it’s a balancing act

Be it for optimizing security or sustaining favorable conversion rates, airlines need to plan for 3D Secure as part of their customer payment experience initiative, says Ritesh Gupta, Airline Information Correspondent

How to counter mobile fraud? How to make sure the conversion rate doesn’t go down owing to checkout abandonment? These are two key questions that airlines often mull over as they review the performance of their mobile portfolio.

In this context, one needs to careful with traditional 3D Secure, considering that fact that an extra step during the online payment process is added to ensure that the real user is using the card.

Traditionally, online merchants have adopted a binary view to 3D Secure; implement it across all transactions, or don’t implement it at all.

However, both of these approaches have problems. If you apply 3D Secure to all transactions, conversion will suffer, and if you don’t apply it at all, fraud will still be a factor, says Sander Maertens, VP Airlines and Travel, Adyen.

No doubt 3D Secure offers solid protection, however it does add a complication into the checkout for the consumer. As it emerges, experience on a desktop is sub-par and on a mobile it’s even worse. There are other issues that need to be addressed - very slow reaction from schemes and banks to address problem; some merchants live with the poor experience to maintain liability shift enjoyed from 3D Secure transactions; and many merchants have requested that 3D Secure be disabled for all mobile transactions.

It also needs to be considered that there are markets – like India – where 3D Secure is the norm, and so consumers expect it, says Madrid, Spain-based Celia Pereiro, head of payments at Amadeus.

“In these markets, and specifically in India, 3D Secure actually increases adoption. However, in the majority of markets the additional security can have a negative impact on conversion so airlines should be pragmatic about implementing 3D Secure; it may make sense, for example, to direct transactions which have been identified as suspect by the airline’s fraud management system to 3D Secure as a final check before rejecting the transaction outright. In this way, 3D Secure could be used to increase the conversion rate,” says Pereiro.

Optimal approach

Airlines and travel e-commerce companies need to assess their data by evaluating the value of transactions plus closely evaluate chargebacks. Accordingly, the transaction value limit can be finalized above which 3D Secure can be utilized as an extral layer of security to prevent fraud. As for RoI, positive results can be viewed as hike in revenue and reduction in chargebacks over a period of time.

Also, airlines can  integrate with fraud management tool to organize and work out the 3D Secure arrangement, lets say for local markets, in the backoffice. As for the customer experience, one can opt when to authenticate,   manage what a user sees, and embed authentication in the checkout.

Rather than having a binary view – either being in favour of preventing fraud or not hindering the customer payment experience by avoiding 3D Secure altogether, there is a third possibility.  

“(One can) selectively apply 3D Secure only to high-risk transactions, based on data customized to the airline. The way to do this is to dynamically assess and rank a transaction’s risk score on a scale from low to high, and then trigger 3D Secure only for the high-risk transactions,” recommends Maertens.

This means airlines can avoid routing genuine customers through 3D Secure, ensure a smoother payment flow, and minimize the potential conversion impact. By making 3D Secure a dynamic part of the payment flow, it becomes an asset rather than a conversion killer.

There are offerings that allows airlines to flexibly route transactions according to an intelligent set of business rules which is defined with the customer; these business rules allows airlines to avoid the authentication based on specific parameters, for example, frequent flyer passengers. So airlines can control which transactions are authenticated via a specific rules engine.  This can be categorized depending on the total sum of transaction, SKUs, IP or device used etc.


Travel companies cant really abandon 3D Secure, rather they need to plan diligently.

As Adyen recommends, airlines should evaluate aspects that are quite risky for operations, and contemplate automating 3D Secure as an additional security layer only for such transactions.

Also, as witnessed in the past, one can come across a lofty drop-off rate on 3D Secure transactions in case buyers are worried, considering is a security threat. So airlines should engage buyers on the security benefits wherever they can.

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