What Are MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa?


If your business accepts credit cards, you may have heard of MasterCard SecureCode and/or Verified by Visa. Since these names ring a bell to many business owners but don’t paint a clear picture, we thought it would be helpful to cover the basics of these different technologies, along with the pros and cons that accompany each one:

The Ins and Outs of MasterCard SecureCode

SecureCode is a tool offered by MasterCard that’s designed to combat fraud. The purpose of this tool is to help ensure that online purchases are actually made by authorized users. The way SecureCode makes that happen is an individual has to enter their passcode during checkout. The passcode is a separate form of identification from other details like credit card number and CVV.

According to MasterCard, this measure helps to minimize fraud by adding an additional layer of security. So even if a hacker gets someone’s card number and CVV, they won’t be able to make a purchase. The ability of SecureCode to cut down on fraud is why it often helps protect merchants against chargebacks that fall into categories like cardholder not recognized or unauthorized.

Implementing SecureCode is relatively easy and is something that’s supported by a wide range of credit card processors. While there are quite a few good things to be said about this technology, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Like all security measures, SecureCode is not foolproof. Additionally, adding this measure to your checkout process may reduce the number of customers who complete it. If you’re planning to test SecureCode, be sure to monitor your checkout rate to ensure it doesn’t cause a spike in abandoned checkouts.

What You Need to Know About Verified by Visa

Verified by Visa, which is sometimes referred to as VbV, functions in a very similar way to SecureCode. Prior to being able to make a purchase, a consumer must enter a passcode that helps to confirm their identity. If you’ve previously seen any advertisements about this technology, you may have noticed the phrase 3D Secure. What that term means is three different parties are involved in making a transaction secure. Those parties are the business making the sale, the acquiring bank and Visa.

Like SecureCode, this technology is specifically designed for online transactions. While EMV has already had a significant impact on reducing retail credit card fraud, the industry doesn’t have a comparable standard for online transactions. That’s why different providers like MasterCard and Visa are experimenting with multiple technologies to see what works best in terms of both security and usability.

As with SecureCode, the main drawback of Verified by Visa is it has the potential to negatively impact a checkout process, which is why businesses need to test and analyze the results on their own website. The other thing to keep in mind is even though this technology can reduce chargebacks and shift liability for fraud from your business, as well as reduce interchange fees, there may be upfront fees or other charges for things like the plugin required to make this work. Be sure to do your research prior to committing to see exactly what fees you’ll need to