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3D Secure is a fraud protection tool that can help keep you safe when making online purchases. In 2019 Starling rolled out 3D Secure for all our customers. We’ve updated this blog as of July 2020, to explain how we have improved the service and how this will help keep our customers’ money safe. We’ll roll out the new process to all customers throughout July.


What do 20 pens, 10 mugs, eight glasses, four tea towels and one pot of cuticle cream all have in common? Well apart from our kitchens and stationary cupboard being slightly better stocked (and some healthy-looking cuticles within the Operations teams), all of these items have been part of the purchases to test and ultimately deliver 3D secure.

So, what is 3D Secure?

3D Secure is a tool for online transactions that requires the account holder to complete an authentication process for some purchases. It forms part of the security of your account.

Some banks use passwords. But we’ve all been in that position when trying to make a purchase late on a Sunday evening. Can you remember the first, fourth and ninth character of the password you set 5 years ago? Probably not.

When we introduced 3D Secure in March 2019, it involved the use of ‘one-time passwords’ sent via SMS as the type of authentication for online purchases. Now, we’re improving this service to make it even more secure. Instead of sending the message by SMS, we’re enabling you to approve payments in your Starling app.

Why have we implemented 3D Secure?

Implementing 3D Secure adds to the many ways we ensure your money is protected, helping you to make online payments safely. For certain transactions, we want to make sure that the person making the purchase is the account holder.

A few websites require banks to support 3D Secure, and rightly so, it’s about making payments more secure for customers. That’s why we’ve rolled out this security feature to all our customers. The new method of authenticating purchases also has the added benefit of being compliant with strong customer authentication under the payment services directive II regulation (PSD2).

As a customer, what will I have to do?

If you’re paying on a website that uses 3D Secure, you’ll see the 3D Secure screen showing that the transaction is being processed. For some transactions, you will then see a screen where you will be required to authenticate the payment.

For the majority of retailers, Starling customers will be prompted on the retailer’s website to open their Starling app to approve the payment. You will see a pop-up screen in the app, as long as you recognise the retailer and amount, and you’re happy to make the payment, click ‘approve’ and the payment will be processed. Return to the retailer’s website to receive confirmation of the purchase.

Alternatively, some retailers may ask you to enter an online payment code. You’ll be directed to the Card screen of your Starling app, where you should see a six-digit security code. Enter the online payment code when prompted on the website you’re using to buy something and click ‘continue’ to complete the purchase. It’s important never to share this online passcode with anyone and Starling will never ask you for it over the phone.

When is Starling delivering 3D Secure?

Throughout July 2020, we’ll be enrolling all our customers - personal, business and joint - into the new authentication method for 3D Secure, which works using the Starling app. You don’t have to do or download anything and you won’t need a new card, we’ll manage the enrollment process for you.

So next time you buy something online you may see the new 3D Secure screen. You can now approve the purchase in your Starling app with one tap. Happy shopping!

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