Strong Customer Authentication, or SCA, is part of a new Europe-wide legislation that was introduced in September 2019, designed to reduce instances of online fraud and to make payments made online by credit or debit card more secure. It is particularly relevant to those of you that are taking payment via the WriteUpp/Stripe integration.

You can find more information about SCA and the background by heading over to our blog.

From a practical perspective for you as a clinician, there's nothing you need to change when it comes to accepting online payments for invoices or prepayment for online bookings.  The functionality required to handle SCA is built into the integration between WriteUpp and Stripe,  which is up to date and ready to go.  

How does it work?

When your clients make a payment via Stripe, they will need to provide two further pieces of identifying information on top of their payment details, out of a possible three categories. 

These are:

Something only your client knows, such as a PIN code or password (which will have been created by them when they set up their bank account)
Something only your client possesses, such as their mobile phone (which can receive a single-use code)
Something only your client is, which could be something like a fingerprint

Whatever it is, it will be information that only your client will know or have and it won’t be something that you (or we) will be able to provide them with.  This information will not be held by anyone and will only be used to verify the purchaser’s identity.  It's also not something we can turn off.  

When will it be enforced?

Although the SCA requirements officially came into play on 14 September 2019, few European banks have begun enforcement to date. 

Following an announcement by the European Banking Authority (EBA), it is expected that SCA will be fully enforced by 31 December 2020 for most European cards, and by 14 March 2021 for UK cards. Banks are expected to start declining non-authenticated payments in the months leading up to these deadlines—starting as early as March 2020.

The integration between Stripe and WriteUpp is designed to take this uncertainty into account. Additional authentication will automatically be applied to transactions once they're required by the cardholder's bank. 

Possible Implications

You may find that some clients have difficulty paying your invoices online while they become familiar with SCA and as a result, you may see an increase in payments by cash, BACS transfer or cheque.  You might also field additional questions about the payment process if you choose to capture prepayment via online booking.  However, after the initial few weeks, we expect that normality will quickly resume as consumers get used to SCA and how to use it.

If payments are declined because SCA has been failed, your clients will see a message on screen which states "We are unable to authenticate your payment method. Please choose a different payment method and try again."

This will appear here when paying an invoice:

And here when pre-paying for an online booking:

Perhaps it's important to note that SCA will not just apply to transactions processed via WriteUpp and Stripe, but to most online transactions made with a credit or debit card so it should become the norm pretty quickly.  

Please don't hesitate to grab us on Live Chat if you have any further questions about SCA.
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