Your credit and debit card payments may be declined from Monday due to the arrival of new checks

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Online purchases could be refused from next week when new rules come into force.

Shoppers will note that from Monday retailers must verify that it is you who is making the payment before charging your card.

To do this, customers will receive a code from their bank – usually on their mobile phone – when they buy something online, and they must enter it at checkout for payment to be approved.

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If the transaction cannot be verified as genuine, the card payment may be declined.

The changes come into effect as part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new fraud prevention rules, known as “Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), ChronicleLive reports.

The idea behind the move is to create a new layer of security to protect shoppers and their money, but some banks have already warned customers that card payments could be declined as some retailers may not be ready by March 14.

At the end of January, First Direct told current account holders: ‘As we get closer to the regulatory date, the number of times you will notice you are being asked to verify that it is you who is making the payment will increase.

“If the retailer is not ready for the new process, your card may be declined.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules.

Why are the rules changing?

The new controls are aimed at tackling credit card fraud, where scammers go on a spending spree using stolen details.

What exactly changes?

From Monday, online retailers will be required to verify the identity of shoppers before authorizing a payment.

A one-time password will usually be sent via text message, but most banks offer the option of sending an email or automated message to your landline if your internet signal is weak.

Alternatively, you may be prompted to approve payments by logging into your bank’s mobile app.

Should I check every time I buy something?

The Mastercard card provider estimates that one in four payments will require additional verification.

Is anything exempt from verification?

Some online transactions are exempt, such as low value purchases and those considered minimal risk by banks.

Retailers with low levels of fraud will also be able to make larger payments without going through further checks.

What about monthly payments or subscriptions, like Netflix?

If you make regular payments for subscriptions on your card, you won’t be asked to enter a code each time money is taken out of your account.

My signal is not good. What if I don’t receive the message?

Make sure your bank has all your contact details so that there are other ways to reach you, such as mobile and landline numbers and an email address.

It is currently unclear whether card companies will need to try more than one verification path, and which, if any, they should do first.

I’m already verifying some payments. What is changing?

Some banks and retailers already use the additional security check for customers spending a large amount of money or when using a website for the first time.

The new rules were supposed to be in place by September 14, 2019. But the deadline was extended by 18 months and then pushed back again due to the pandemic.

The new SCA verification process is an extension of the rules that have applied to online and mobile banking since March 14, 2020, so you may have already noticed certain actions requiring identity confirmation, including signing in and money transfer to someone else.

And SCA checks also already apply if you make several contactless payments in a row totaling more than £300, when you’re asked to verify your identity by entering your PIN.

Will this apply to all payments?

Each provider will have their own definition of “high risk” and “low risk” transactions, but, according to Moneysavingexpert.com, the following are generally more likely to be checked:

  • Online payments over £25;
  • Online payments up to £25 when you have made multiple consecutive payments totaling more than £85;
  • New or Changed Recurring Payments.

Should I verify Paypal or Klarna payments?

The new rules also apply to transactions made through PayPal and buy-it-now, pay-later companies, such as Klarna.

What about Apple Pay?

Apple Pay already meets the requirements, as customers must enter an access code or prove their identity using fingerprint or facial recognition technology.

Are all retailers ready for Monday?

Many large stores, such as Amazon and Asda, say they have been prepared for the new rules for some time.

But smaller stores can struggle to meet the deadline – and risk significant losses if payments are declined.

Mike Cherry, President of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “With the current turbulent economic conditions, small retailers already have a lot on their plate and may not have the bandwidth to handle this on their own, especially if a small online retail operation is a bolt-on primarily brick-and-mortar business.”

How do I know text is not a scam?

Your bank or card company will never ask you for your PIN, password, date of birth, address or other personal information to verify a payment under this system, so if you are asked for other anything but a verification code, it’s probably a scam.

It’s also important to stay alert and be aware that some scammers may be using these new rules as an opportunity to try and get their hands on your personal and financial information.

If my payment is declined, will this affect my credit rating?

Your credit or debit card decline will have no impact on your credit score.

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