SCA Q&A: Director of acquiring Barclaycard Payments, Paul Adams

The market breathed a collective sigh of relief when Europe’s Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) provision enforcement deadline was delayed until December 31, 2020, in response to widespread unreadiness from many across the payments supply chain. PaymentEye caught up with director of acquiring at Barclaycard Payments, Paul Adams, to get his thoughts on how the delay has changed the shape of the market.

How much of a disruption was the delay?

Rather than being disruptive, the SCA implementation extension has provided merchants with extra time to become compliant without removing their ability to provide a great customer experience. This opportunity should not be squandered. It’s essential that steps are taken now if the new legislative deadline is to be met without any adverse effects – to merchants or their customers.

Will the market be fully prepared by the time of the new deadline?

While the new compliance deadline may seem far away, It’s important that merchants get ready for SCA as soon as possible. If they don’t, this will mean an increasingly steep step-up to being compliant, an increase in declines from issuers and a potential rise in basket abandonment.

Many businesses have yet to implement the technology required to verify transactions under SCA, known as 3DS2. Merchants should be speaking to providers now to ensure that they are compliant with new industry protocols, understand how to make the most of SCA exemptions and that payments remain are as seamless as possible for customers. Doing so offers the best chance of being fully prepared by the new deadline.

In September, around the time of the initial SCA launch you said that transaction volumes had been unaffected by the rules. How have things transpired, given the delay?

Fortunately, we haven’t seen any direct impact on transaction volumes, though we are continuing to closely monitoring the situation. As we move closer to the new deadline a greater number of businesses will be testing and trialling two-factor authentication techniques, giving us a better understanding of SCA’s impact on the payments industry.

How has Transact been impacted?

While Transact has been ‘SCA ready’ for several months now, the implementation extension has enabled us to further build out our proposition. For example, we recently partnered with fraud protection software provider Kount to provide merchants with tools to better screen their transactions and manage fraud exposure to their business.

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