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How secure are recurring payments?

How secure are recurring payments?


Faye Duncan


24 Nov 2023

Read time

4 Minutes



Whether you’re a subscription service or an e-commerce business offering a repeat delivery of products, the security of recurring payments should be a top priority. You’ll need to safely gather, process and store your customer’s sensitive data.

In this blog, we’ll unravel the layers of protection surrounding these transactions and explore the secure payment methods that ensure your customers’ data stays safe from cyber threats.

What’s in this article?

  • How are recurring payments protected?
  • Secure recurring payment methods
  • Fraud prevention in subscription billing
  • Secure recurring payment processing

How are recurring payments protected?

There are a range of technologies and tools used so you can manage recurring payments securely. Let’s take a look at the most effective:

PCI-Compliant solutions

Security concerns are one of the biggest causes of abandoned carts. So, maintaining the trust of your customers requires a commitment to the highest standards of data security. This is where Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance comes into play. Although it’s mandatory to comply with these industry standards, such as implementing 3D Secure 2.0, to protect your customers’ information, it also demonstrates your dedication to maintaining a secure environment. Displaying the PCI-compliant badge becomes a symbol of reliability in the eyes of your customers.


As a merchant, you’ll understand the critical importance of safeguarding your customers’ financial information. Tokenisation is your ally in succeeding with this. When it comes to keeping your customer’s card information on file, by replacing sensitive data (like a credit card number) with a token (a random and unique string of data), you ensure that even in the event of a breach, the actual payment details remain inaccessible. Implementing tokenisation is a strategic move to strengthen your payment infrastructure and build trust with your customers.

Mobile checkout page with remember my details function

3D Secure recurring payments                                                                                             

Let’s go into more detail about 3DS2 payments. This authentication measure verifies a customer’s transaction via a number of ways, including a PIN, one-time passcode or facial recognition. This added security measure ensures the cardholder is who they say they are.

For more information on 3DS recurring payments, check out our blog on ‘What is 3D Secure authentication?’.

Secure payment gateway

Your payment gateway acts as the first line of defence against potential threats. Opt for a secure payment gateway that encrypts data during transactions, rendering it indecipherable to any unauthorised parties. This encryption not only protects your customers but also shields your reputation as a responsible and secure merchant.

Secure recurring payment methods

Now, let’s delve into the methods that make recurring card payments secure for both merchants and customers:

  • Credit card: With the right security measures in place, such as tokenisation and authentication, credit cards are a safe option and can easily reassure your customers that their payment details are in safe hands.
  • Direct Debit: For subscription-based services, Direct Debit can offer a seamless recurring payment method; it has its own security measures with Direct Debit Guarantee making it a safe option for your customers.
  • Digital wallets: Embrace digital wallets as a secure facilitator between your customers and their payment details. Services like Apple Pay, Google Pay or PayPal add an extra layer of protection, assuring your clientele that their transactions are shielded by trusted entities.
  • Account-to-Account (A2A): A2A payments powered by open banking is the latest method to offer recurring payments. Its capability of sharing a person’s financial data can only be done with their consent, making it a secure option.

Fraud prevention in subscription billing

Mitigating fraud is not just a customer concern; it’s vital for maintaining the integrity of your business. Here’s how you can actively contribute to fraud prevention:

Fingerprint recognition, facial recognition and one-time passcode icons for 3DS recurring payments.
  • Authentication protocols – Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) to verify the identity of users making changes or accessing their accounts, such as one-time passcodes and biometrics.
  • Alerts and notifications – Enable real-time alerts for both you and your customers. This proactive approach allows you to address any suspicious activities promptly, preserving the security of your payment ecosystem, as well as receiving early chargeback alerts so you can act quickly.
  • Regular audits – Conduct periodic reviews of your payment system to detect and rectify any irregularities. Proactive audits ensure that potential issues are identified and addressed before they escalate.
  • Enhanced reporting – With real-time data insights, you can stay on top of your customer’s transactions and spot behavioral trends, making it easier to detect suspicious activity. 
  • Create blacklists – You can deny payments from specific emails, IPs, countries, devices and addresses based on previous suspicious activity.

For more tips, check out our blog on how to prevent fraud in business.

Secure recurring payment processing

As merchants, the responsibility of protecting your payment processing rests in your hands. Embrace the advancements in technology that provide innovative and secure subscription payment solutions, whether it’s tokenisation, PCI compliance or secure payment gateways.

As a payments provider, we offer all the tools needed so that you can prioritise the security of your customer’s financial information to not only fortify your business against potential threats but also foster lasting trust with your customers.

So, merchants, rest assured that with these security measures in place, you can confidently offer recurring payment options, knowing that you’re providing a secure and trustworthy experience for your valued customers. So, if you’re ready to offer seamless and secure recurring transactions, we’re ready to help you get started!

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