What is Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)?

Definition of Strong Customer Authentication

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a requirement of the European Union’s revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The revised Payment Services Directive was introduced in January 2018 in an attempt to reduce fraud and make electronic payments more secure.

SCA requires certain electronic payment providers to use multi-factor authentication in order to process payments. Authentication methods for affected payments must include at least two of the following elements:

  • something only the user knows, such as a password
  • something only the user possesses, such as their mobile phone
  • a unique biometric feature the user possesses, such as their fingerprint

SCA came into effect in the EU on 14th September 2019. However, the Financial Conduct Authority announced on 13th August 2019 that an 18-month plan for phased implementation had been agreed.

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