Verified by Visa: What You Need to Know About Visa’s Secure Authentication System

By Emma Martin | Published on 31 May 2023

verified by visa

Over 70 million people are victims of cyber crimes each year, and Visa is constantly improving its security systems to help protect everyone on its network. Until recently, Visa has used its Verified by Visa (VBV) system to add a layer of credit card fraud protection.

When using Visa for online purchases, you may have seen the Verified by Visa logo on the screen as it confirms your identity before completing your purchase. But recently, Visa has made some changes. The most obvious is the addition of Visa Secure. 

So, what’s the difference between Verified by Visa and Visa Secure, and what do you need to know about this new secure authentication system? Let’s find out.

What’s the difference between Verified by Visa and Visa Secure?

You might notice that things have changed when you make a purchase online. While you may be familiar with the Verified by Visa page popping up when you attempt to buy something, now you might see Visa Secure instead.

Most major Canadian Visa credit cards have Verified by Visa, including the TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card, Scotiabank Momentum Visa Card, and others. Royal Bank of Canada credit cards use Visa Secure.

The main difference is the name. While Visa’s verification system regularly updates, Verified by Visa and Visa Secure are similar because they protect customers and merchants from credit card fraud when making online purchases.

You don’t need a new Visa card to use the new Visa Secure service. The service automatically applies to all accounts, provided your card issuer/financial institution is part of the program.

Some financial institutions will still use Verified by Visa or 3-D secure, but most issuers choose to switch to the more secure Visa 3-D Secure 2.0 system. You can compare credit cards to see the ones that support the new Visa Secure system.

Read more about Scotiabank credit cards

How Verified by Visa works (now Visa Secure)

When you’re making a purchase online, and you see a Visa Secure badge, that means that your Visa purchases are secure with that merchant. It also protects the merchant from the threat of credit card fraud. But how can you be sure that Visa Secure is actually safe?

Visa Secure uses customer verification to confirm transactions, only authorizing them when the identity is verified. In most cases, you won’t even realize that you have an extra layer of protection.

The new system compares over 100 data points to verify your identity. The 3-D Secure protocol allows merchants and credit card issuers to exchange information, enabling the technology to verify the consumer’s identity and prevent fraud.

For customers, it leads to more successful checkouts because there is no need to remember a passcode. For merchants, it means a better customer experience and enhanced transaction security. 

There are some cases where you may have to provide more information to confirm your identity. This could include a one-time passcode sent via SMS from your financial institution or biometrics. 

Here is a great infographic from Visa showcasing exactly how the Visa 3-D Secure 2.0 system works. 

Setting up Verified by Visa

Verified by Visa is an authentication system with password protection. ViIsa uses this to confirm your identity when you make a purchase online.

When you register for Verified by Visa, you will set up a personal identification number (PIN) or a password. You must enter it to confirm all online purchases from merchants that support Verified by Visa. This authentication can also be a one-time password Visa issues you.

If your card issuer participates in Visa Secure, then the system automatically works to verify your identity based on various data points like device type and type of merchandise. On the rare occasion that Visa requires additional verification, you may need to enter a one-time password Visa sends via SMS.

What has changed?

The old version of Verified by Visa required cardholders to register for it. Then, cardholders were provided with a passcode they would have to enter when checking out with online retailers.

But if cardholders enter the code incorrectly, the Visa declines the purchase and flags it as fraud. This caused issues for customers and merchants. Customers who forgot their passcodes would often abandon their carts, resulting in a lost sale for the merchant. 

Now, you do not need to register for Visa Secure. Visa Secure automatically covers every Visa cardholder, provided the issuer is a member of the Visa Secure program.

Emma Martin writes about the curiosities of finance. Her obsession with cryptocurrency keeps her writing most days about the best exchanges and wallets, and the wild world of NFTs. Her favourite exchange right now is Bitbuy. Emma also invests in the stock market using Wealthsimple Trade.