Visa SecureThe Successor to Verified by Visa Technology?

January 24, 2024 | 11 min read

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Visa Secure

In a Nutshell

While the Verified by Visa name has been retired, the underlying technology remains in place to safeguard your transactions. In fact, this service has undergone recent enhancements to bolster security and deliver an even smoother user experience. This article will take a close look at the newly minted Visa Secure, including why you need it and how to get started.

Getting Started With Visa Secure: Why You Should Do it Sooner Rather Than Later

Online shopping has emerged as the favored method for many consumers. However, this surge in digital commerce necessitates that businesses take proactive measures to combat card-not-present fraud.

This presents a challenge. How do merchants stop fraud while ensuring that legitimate transactions proceed seamlessly? In response, Visa collaborated with other payment brands to create the next iteration of the 3-D Secure protocol.

Visa Secure, a global 3-D Secure initiative, simplifies the authentication process, reduces inconvenience for consumers, and plays a crucial role in thwarting card-not-present fraud. But, how does it work? And, how do merchants and cardholders get started? Let’s discuss.

What is Visa Secure?

Visa Secure

[noun]/vē • zə • sə • kyo͝or/

Visa Secure is a security protocol and technology deployed by Visa to enhance the security of online transactions. It is the Visa-branded version of 3-D Secure 2.0 technology.

3DS2 is a security standard used in online payment systems to add an extra layer of protection when you make purchases online. Visa Secure, as a part of this standard, helps verify the identity of the person making the online transaction.

Visa Secure aims to make online shopping safer by using 3DS2 technology to verify your identity and reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions when you use your Visa card for online payments.

Learn more about 3-D Secure technology

The program works by verifying a customer's identity at the checkout stage, ensuring that transactions come from only authorized Visa card users. This 3-D Secure Visa deployment is the same technology used by other card networks like JCB, American Express, and Discover. Mastercard, for instance, refers to their 3DS product as Identity Check.

What's the Difference Between Visa Secure and Verified by Visa?

Verified by Visa (VbV) was an earlier security protocol introduced by Visa to enhance the safety of online transactions. It required cardholders to create a personal password or code known only to them, and this code was used as an additional layer of authentication during online purchases. 

When you made an online transaction with a merchant that supported VbV, you would be prompted to enter a code to confirm your identity. It was a valuable security measure to prevent unauthorized card usage.

Visa Secure, on the other hand, is an updated and more sophisticated successor to Verified by Visa. One of the significant differences lies in how it verifies customers' identities. Instead of relying solely on a specific code, Visa Secure employs a broader set of data points and advanced algorithms to authenticate transactions:

Visa Secure

Authentication Method

Verified by Visa primarily relied on the cardholder's specific code or password. In contrast, Visa Secure uses a range of information, including device data, transaction history, and other behavioral patterns, to identify customers. This means that Visa Secure can often authenticate the cardholder on the backend without requiring them to manually enter a code.
Visa Secure

Seamless Experience

Visa Secure aims to provide a smoother and more seamless online shopping experience. Many times, cardholders won't even notice the authentication process because it occurs behind the scenes. This reduces friction during online purchases while maintaining high levels of security.
Visa Secure

Enhanced Security

Visa Secure's multifaceted approach to authentication enhances security. It can adapt to different risk levels, requesting additional authentication only when necessary. This flexibility makes it harder for fraudsters to bypass the security measures.

Verified by Visa relied on a specific code. In contrast, Visa Secure takes a more comprehensive and adaptive approach to verifying cardholders' identities during online transactions. It's like an upgraded and smarter version of the security measures previously used, making online shopping safer and more convenient for consumers.

How Does Visa Secure Work?

Visa Secure operates in pretty much the same way as Mastercard Identity Check. The system deploys a series of authentication steps to protect your financial transactions from fraudsters and unauthorized access. The goal is to authenticate the buyer’s identity seamlessly, often without any noticeable interruption during the checkout process.

Here’s how it works:

Phase #1 | Initiating the Transaction

The Visa Secure process begins with an online purchase using a Visa card. The customer selects their items, proceeds to checkout, and enters their card details, just like any other online transaction.

Phase #2 | Risk Assessment

Visa Secure assesses the risk level of the transaction. It considers various factors, such as the type of items being purchased, the merchant's reputation, past transaction history, and device information.

Phase #3 | Additional Authentication (if Needed)

If the system detects a higher level of risk — for instance, in the case of a first-time customer — Visa Secure may request additional authentication. This could involve sending a one-time code to the buyer’s mobile phone or email address. The buyer must enter this code to complete the transaction.


In many cases, Visa Secure can authenticate a transaction without interrupting the purchase flow. 3DS2 technology enables bankend verification. This means the buyer won't need to enter a specific code or take additional steps during the checkout process.

Visa Secure's intelligent risk assessment and multifaceted authentication approach enhance the security of online transactions. It adapts to the situation, providing extra security only when necessary, which makes it challenging for unauthorized individuals to misuse your Visa card.

Visa Secure works seamlessly in the background to assess the risk of your online transactions and authenticate your identity, typically without requiring you to enter a specific code. It's designed to provide enhanced security while ensuring a smooth and convenient shopping experience for Visa cardholders.

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Why Should Merchants Use a 3-D Secure Solution?

Merchants have compelling reasons to embrace a 3-D Secure solution like Visa Secure. It helps automate the authentication process in real-time, simultaneously increasing your overall transaction security while keeping friction to a minimum. 

To illustrate, here are the key benefits merchants can expect from Visa Secure:

Reduced Fraud Risk

Implementing 3-D Secure significantly reduces the risk of fraudulent transactions. By adding an extra layer of authentication, it becomes much harder for cybercriminals to use stolen credit card information for online purchases. This protection not only safeguards the merchant's revenue but also enhances customer trust.

Chargeback Protection

Chargebacks are costly and time-consuming for merchants. 3-D Secure can help provide a strong defense against disputes, as it shifts liability for certain types of fraud-related chargebacks from the merchant to the card issuer. This can result in significant savings for businesses.

Global Acceptance

3-D Secure is widely recognized and accepted globally, making it an ideal choice for international eCommerce. It ensures that merchants can securely process transactions with customers from around the world, mitigating the risk of cross-border fraud.

Improved Customer Confidence

Customers value security when shopping online. By using a 3-D Secure solution, merchants demonstrate their commitment to protecting customers' sensitive information. This builds trust and encourages repeat business.

Flexibility & Adaptability

3-D Secure 2.0 solutions are designed to be flexible and adaptive. They can adjust their level of authentication based on the risk assessment of each transaction. This means that low-risk transactions can proceed smoothly without unnecessary friction, while higher-risk transactions receive the appropriate level of scrutiny.


In some regions, regulatory bodies require strong authentication measures for online transactions. Europe, for instance, requires compliance with Strong Customer Authentication standards. 3-D Secure helps merchants meet these compliance requirements, avoiding legal issues and fines.

Reduction in False Declines

Without adequate security measures, merchants may inadvertently decline legitimate transactions, causing frustration for customers and lost sales. 3-D Secure helps reduce false declines by accurately assessing transaction risk and only prompting additional authentication when necessary.

How to Start Using Visa Secure

Getting set up with Visa Secure is a straightforward process, and it's designed to be user-friendly for both merchants and cardholders.

For Cardholders

In many cases, banks that issue Visa cards will automatically enroll their customers in Visa Secure. When banks do not do this, cardholders can still enroll in Visa Secure by contacting the bank that issued their Visa-branded card. The bank can verify that they’re participating in Visa Secure, and help the cardholder get set up with the program.

There is no need to download anything, install software or register one’s account to get this added layer of protection. However, cardholders may occasionally be prompted to verify their identity at checkout. This is a sign that Visa Secure is active and working.

For Merchants

To begin using Visa Secure, the first step is to get in touch with your payment processor or acquiring bank. They will guide you through the setup process and provide you with the necessary information and tools.

Getting started should be fairly simple. To leverage Visa Secure in the transaction process, the merchant's checkout page must load the 3DS method URL and allow it to complete collection of device data. They must also provide priority data elements in all authentication requests. Examples of Visa priority data elements that can be used as part of the Visa Secure process include:

  • Address Match Indicator**
  • Browser IP Address
  • Browser Screen Height
  • Browser Screen Width
  • Cardholder Account Information**
  • Billing Address Line 1
  • Billing Address City
  • Billing Address State
  • Billing Address Postal Code
  • Shipping Address Country
  • Shipping Address Line 1
  • Shipping Address City
  • Cardholder Name
  • Shipping Address State
  • Cardholder Shipping Address Postal Code
  • Cardholder Billing Country
  • Cardholder Email Address
  • Cardholder Phone Number

**These data fields are not required. However, inclusion is considered a best practice in order to maximize the benefits of Visa Secure.

Visa Secure: One Part of an Overall Strategy

Using Visa Secure may lower a merchant's overall number of chargebacks. The technology is by no means “perfect,” though.

The underlying software was not designed to combat chargebacks. It is only aimed at detecting and preventing criminal fraud. So, while it's certainly a step in the right direction, Visa Secure’s chargeback prevention capabilities are limited in several areas:

  • It can only be used for online transactions.
  • It only prevents chargebacks associated with Visa transactions.
  • A transaction can be authenticated, even if it was not authorized.
  • It can deter unauthorized transactions, but has no effect on first-party fraud.

That last point is very important. Our research suggests that only a small portion of chargebacks are the product of genuine criminal fraud. Most chargebacks are the result of friendly fraud. Visa Secure has no effect on chargebacks resulting from merchant error or friendly fraud.

Visa Secure authentication does offer valuable protection against fraud. It works best, however, as part of a multi-level fraud and chargeback management strategy.

Merchants need a customized, end-to-end solution that employs the most effective tools where they will do the most good. If you’re interested in learning the role Visa Secure can play in your overall chargeback management strategy, contact Chargebacks911® today.


Is Visa Secure the same as Verified by Visa?

Sort of. Visa Secure is technically the evolved and enhanced successor to Verified by Visa, offering improved security measures and a more seamless user experience for online transactions. While the underlying objective of both is similar, enhancing online payment security, Visa Secure represents the latest iteration of this technology.

Question Here

No. Although the Verified by Visa name is no longer in use, a new version of the same technology is in place to help protect you under the rebranded name: Visa Secure.

Is Visa Secure legit?

Yes. Visa Secure is a legitimate and highly effective security protocol and service offered by Visa to enhance the security of online transactions.

Is Visa Secure mandatory?

No. Visa Secure is not mandatory for all merchants, but it is strongly recommended for those who want to enhance transaction security and reduce fraud risk. Merchant acquirers can choose whether to implement Visa Secure based on their specific security needs and preferences.

How does Visa Secure work?

Visa Secure works by adding an extra layer of security to online transactions. It assesses transaction risk factors and may prompt additional authentication, such as sending a one-time code to the cardholder, to verify their identity, ultimately reducing the risk of fraud.

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