How SCA has changed in the wake of COVID-19

Encouraging contactless payments and e-commerce for shoppers across the EEA

Written by Rebekah Moss 02 Apr 2020 - 2 Minutes reading time

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, our partners at Mastercard have released amended details regarding the enforcement of SCA compliance.

In September 2019, we published a white paper detailing at length, how SCA would change the payments landscape for businesses across Europe. Check that out here, and note the changes below:

As Outlined by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority:

Standards required to be met by SCA included that strong customer authentication was enforced when five contactless transactions were made in a row, or the cumulative amount of transactions exceeded a value of 150 Euros.

The FCA is now unlikely to take action against the lack of enforcement during this period if authentication is not met.

The e-commerce landscape is expected to change at a rapid pace due to the challenges presented by COVID-19. One of these challenges is undoubtedly going to be the implementation of SCA within e-commerce.

The FCA encourages a continued effort to meet the revised deadline of March 14th 2021 but notes that this is under review in the current climate.

In accordance with the European Economic Area, the agreed changes have been recommended during this time:

  • The contactless transaction limit has now been increased to 50 Euros (or £45) in the UK and 17 other EEA countries. Any transaction that exceeds this will need to comply with strong customer authentication elements. This change has been rolled out across Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. Finland had already increased its limit.

  • As mentioned, the UK will not enforce action where SCA is not authenticated on contactless transactions exceeding a cumulative value of 150 Euros.

  • This same agreement is under review in Belgium and Austria and has been declined in the Czech Republic, France and Slovakia.

  • Allied Irish Bank (AIB) has suspended the introduction of a new fee of 0.01 Euros per contactless transaction.

  • Further measures are currently being discussed in regards to SCA and the flexibility of its regulatory technical standards in the light of the ongoing pandemic.

Potential changes may include:

  • A further delay to the deadline for SCA compliance in the EEA of 6 months. This has notoriously been delayed to 2019, 2020, and March 2021.

  • Update: May 2020 - The official deadline for SCA compliance has now been moved to September 14th 2021

  • Flexibility in SCA compliance for online banking in the UK.

  • General operational relief for banks across Europe and the EEA.

Keep coming back to this post to stay updated on the latest changes regarding SCA!

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