Online shopping

New Online Shopping Rules: Customers May Have to Prove Identity with Face ID

Online shoppers may have to prove their identity through facial recognition as part of new rules aimed at reducing fraud. Starting today (March 14), Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements will come into effect and change the way people confirm their identity when shopping online.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said customers will be asked to prove their identity when making a purchase using two of three methods:

  • Some form of body identification, for example using a fingerprint or face identification
  • Something they know, such as an access code or password
  • Something they have, for example via mobile phone

READ MORE: Shoppers warned that debit and credit cards could be declined online from Monday



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Customers may now find that they are prompted to verify a purchase via SMS more often by entering a temporary passcode. Other forms of confirmation could include answering an automated phone call to a landline or mobile phone.

A spokeswoman for the banking and finance industry trade association, UK Finance, called SCA “an important tool in the fight against fraud, adding an extra layer of protection when people pay online with a map”.

She said: “When a customer makes a payment online, their bank or payment provider will need to verify who they are before the transaction is completed.

“This can be done in a number of ways, including texting a one-time password, receiving a phone call, or logging into a banking app. Customers should ensure their bank has their correct details. If a customer has specific needs, they should contact their bank to discuss the help available.

Although the requirements already apply to some transactions, the proportion has steadily increased since the beginning of this year. The BRC said that with the increase in the number of purchases being made digitally, it is hoped that SCA will help reduce fraud and protect customers’ money when shopping online.

Certain types of transactions are exempt from strong customer authentication, which means customers won’t always be asked to complete additional security steps. Exempt transactions include purchases deemed to be at “low risk” of fraudulent activity, such as the purchase of low-priced items, or repeat purchases and subscriptions.

Tom Ironside, Business and Regulatory Director at BRC, said: “Retailers have worked hard to prepare for stringent customer authentication requirements, ensuring online shopping is both as safe and easy as possible. .

“The BRC and our members have worked with suppliers to ensure that multiple fraud checks are carried out behind the scenes and that any additional friction is kept to a minimum. Customers should be reassured that buying online has never been so safe.