3D Secure = jumpstarting e-commerce?

I came across this article on Visa’s acquisition of Cardinal Commerce. I was going to tweet a response but realised my commentary could not be contained in 140 characters.

Comment 1

“At Visa our goal is really to jumpstart the [e-commerce] industry,” said Mark Nelson, senior vice president of risk and authentication products at Visa.

Never let the facts get in the way of some good corporate PR:

  • Amazon 2015 revenue: $107 billion (source)
  • China 2015 e-commerce spend: $562 billion (source)
  • 2016 Black Friday sales reach new $3 billion heights (source)

This is clearly not an industry that needs a ‘jumpstart’. What’s more insightful is that Visa (a major player in the industry) believes it does, and made it their ‘goal’.

Comment 2

Visa’s claim that 3D Secure = jumpstarting.

This one troubles me for a lot of reasons:

  1. Let’s not forget that the industry may not need that jumpstart — it’s like defibrillating someone whose heart is happily beating.
  2. It ignores the checkered history of 3D Secure (especially its terrible customer experience) in positing 3D Secure is the panacea for e-commerce.
  3. It pushes 3D Secure as a merchant driven solution. It’s not. Most merchants don’t want additional integration costs and aren’t getting the value from the liability shift … if it is really delivered.

Comment 3

3D Secure adds friction to the checkout process. This will NOT help e-commerce. Rather, it will achieve the opposite.

If you‘ve experienced having to enter some random details (yet another bank-provided code, your balance, your brother’s mother-in-law’s cousin’s former roommate’s maiden name) in addition to everything else, then you will know this does not help checkout.

In fact, when 3D Secure was pushed in a 1.0 guise, the data suggested it reduced checkout conversions (3D Secure are Checkout Killers).

How increasing friction will “jumpstart” e-commerce is beyond me.

Visa’s effort to address security and fraud for online transactions is admirable. Our data suggests this might add up to 3% of all e-commerce transactions, and this cost to merchants is ultimately passed on to consumers.

However, the claim that 3D Secure is a solution for the industry and or “jumpstarts” e-commerce is risible. And Visa taking this world view of e-commerce is equally troubling.


At Onefill we can solve this by getting the bank involved in online shopping and validating customer information (without friction) prior to checkout. In our opinion, this is much better for all market participants (except, maybe, for Visa).

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