The impact of Strong Customer Authentication


We are on the eve of a major change in the way online payments are made. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will be introduced on 14 September 2019. This is an overarching EU regulation as part of PSD2, the European directive for payment services. And just like the GDPR, this will be a big challenge – especially for the business travel industry!

SCA revolves around customer authentication in online transactions. It aims to make payment transactions safer, and to reduce online fraud and crime. In principle, that’s a good thing in itself, and at VCK Travel we embrace this objective. However, the stricter rules for transactions can make the payment process quite complex. SCA requires an additional authentication step for online payments of more than 30 euros. And that’s where the challenge lies. This implementation is very demanding when it comes to B2B processes, where there is much less fraud than in B2C, but where the changes have a greater impact.

Impact on the business travel sector

In our industry many payments are made by credit card. For example flights via low-cost carriers, but also hotels and other reservations for our customers. These are prepaid by us, using a credit card construction, such as lodge cards, virtual cards or corporate cards. And we do this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not only for in advance planned business trips from our customers, but also in emergencies outside office hours.

As these kinds of payments are made centrally. Many processes are now exempt, but some will be influenced by the SCA and with an extra authentication it will be impossible. But there may also be consequences for you as a customer.

The overarching EU regulations are interpreted in different ways by different countries, while credit card networks have their own rules and policies. There are also exceptions and exemptions where SCA is not needed. It is all quite complicated.

A lot of hard work is currently done by the involved parties in the business travel industry to arrange exemptions for TMCs before 14 September 2019 for the business credit card products, such as lodge cards and virtual cards.

Consequences for customers

There may also be consequences for you as a customer or booker. The SCA will also apply to business credit cards that you issue to employees for business expenses. How will this work for you? Where would this second authentication end up?


SCA is something that impacts us as a TMC, and we will just have to deal with it. Fortunately, there are many processes that does not apply to SCA. For the other processes, we assume that the involved parties will find a solution for our entire industry, so that we can continue to serve you as a customer at the level you have come to expect from us. We will keep you informed.

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"The impact of Strong Customer Authentication"