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Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)

What is it, what's affected and what do I need to do?

Updated over a week ago

Strong Customer Authentication is part of a new EU regulation called PSD2, designed to decrease debit & credit card fraud online. It affects how card payments are processed online.

Beacon takes care of the heavy lifting behind the scenes, so you can be confident that payments made by your supporters are getting through.

What is it?

You might have seen something called 3DSecure in the past. It's an additional step that occasionally appears, requiring customers or supporters to verify a payment online.

Strong Customer Authentication brings in a newer, better looking, and mobile friendly version of this called 3DSecure 2.

Since 14th September 2019, when making card payments online through Beacon forms, your supporters may be required to verify their payments - usually via SMS or a push notification on their banking app:

Screenshot 2019-09-10 at 07.36.38

What kinds of payments in Beacon are affected?

The following payment methods are affected by SCA:

  • Credit & debit card payments through Stripe (single and recurring payments)

  • Apple Pay & Google Pay payments (these are essentially card payments)

The following are not affected (directly) in Beacon:

  • Direct Debit payments (Direct Debits are exempt from SCA)

  • PayPal payments (PayPal take care of this on their end)

How often will our supporters have to verify their payments?

It depends on their bank.

In the UK, SCA has been delayed for 18 months, so UK supporters won't need to verify any donations or membership fees for a while yet.

For payments coming from Europe, donors may have to verify any payments made through Beacon forms.

Do I need to do anything?

99% of the time, no!

When payments are made via Beacon forms, supporters will automatically be prompted to verify their payments if required.

Beacon will prompt them to verify the payment, with a little help from our friends at Stripe.

There is one exception - recurring card payments through Stripe. Read on to learn more.

Recurring payments (Stripe only)

If one of your supporters is making a recurring donation or membership, a payment in Stripe might need additional verification.

If required, Stripe will automatically send an email on your behalf, prompting them to verify the payment. The supporter will then have to re-visit a Stripe-hosted web page to confirm it.


To ensure that Stripe sends these emails and takes care of the heavy lifting for you, enable the 3D Secure emails in your Stripe dashboard:

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