Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)
Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a European regulatory requirement that is being introduced to reduce fraud and to make online payments more secure. SCA is also being applied by banks across the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
For more information on Strong Customer Authentication (also referred to as PSD2 or 3D secure), please see this page.
Will SCA impact me?
If you are a Sendible customer located in the EU, UK, or Switzerland, SCA is likely to impact you. Customers outside these countries will not be impacted at this stage though it is likely that SCA will be introduced in other countries in the future. Most card payments in the EU, UK, and Switzerland will require SCA which includes the charges we make for subscriptions; however bank transfers, or the equivalent, will not be impacted.
You may have already noticed when making payments with your card online during the checkout process that there’s an extra step where your card provider prompts you to confirm your authorisation using one of the forms displayed below to verify your payment.
Even if you have made payments to Sendible for months or years previously, your card provider will likely request that you authorise payments to us from time to time to ensure that they are legitimate.
When will SCA take effect?
SCA was originally supposed to have taken full effect on 14 September 2019 and that would have meant card providers would have been able to decline any payment where Strong Customer Authentication wasn't enabled.
While some card providers have already begun the roll-out of SCA, the process has largely been delayed. However, most card providers will put SCA into effect by the end of the year and it should be fully rolled out by Spring 2022.
During the summer and early fall of 2021, you can expect that card providers in the EU, United Kingdom, and Switzerland will be increasingly implementing SCA.
What can I expect when I need to authenticate my payment?
Authorisation may be required both when you’re initially adding or updating a payment card on Sendible and also when we look to make charges in relation to your subscription.
If authorisation is required, you’ll:
- Be notified on the Subscription page.
- Receive an email notification from our payment gateway provider, which is Stripe. Stripe is what we currently use to manage and process all card payments made through our site. These emails will display that this request is coming from Sendible in relation to a payment for your current subscription or an update to your subscription.
- Need to use the link contained within the email to reach the authentication page for your payment.
- Authenticate as directed by your card provider so that we can store your card for future payments or process your payment successfully.
Until your payment is authorised, what you’re paying for (e.g. an upgrade to your plan or adding an additional user) will not be applied. The change will only take place once your payment has been authenticated and successfully processed.
In these cases, the change will be pending and you will not be able to make further updates to your subscription until you’ve authenticated your payment. If the payment fails (e.g. it’s declined by your card provider for any reason) you will need to redo the change and retry the payment.
When the payment for a change to your subscription is pending due to authorisation being required, it will remain pending until your next regular subscription payment is due. If the payment for your update has still not been authorised at this point, it will be cancelled and we will look to charge your normal subscription amount without any changes being applied.
If SCA is required for a normal subscription payment, you’ll have 7 days to authorise your payment after which point your subscription will be suspended. After the initial 7 days, you will still have up to 30 days to pay the outstanding invoice for your subscription before your account is cancelled automatically. Once payment has been authorised and charged successfully, the account will be unsuspended.
If SCA is required and you’re not the cardholder, you can forward the email with the payment link to the cardholder so that they can complete the authorisation process instead.
What are the benefits of SCA?
In addition to making payments safer online, you’ll receive the following benefits through updates made for SCA:
- Being able to see invoices for your payments directly within Stripe.
- Detailed information on what you’ve been charged for and how this is broken down.
- Automatic credits towards your next payment if you’ve taken an action such as downgrading your plan or removing user accounts above the standard amount included with your plan.
I'm a customer in one of the countries where SCA will be applied. Are there any downsides?
Even though there are some exemptions with recurring billing, (which is our current standard process) there is a chance that SCA authorisation will be required for every payment. This could cause disruption to your account if you can’t authorise a normal subscription payment within 7 days.
Once it’s been 7 days since authorisation was initially requested for a regular subscription payment, your account would become suspended. This means that all of your social media posts will be paused and they won’t be published at the scheduled times. Your ability to pull reporting data will also be affected.
If you find that your payments already require SCA authorisation, we highly recommend switching to a longer subscription payment frequency (especially if you are being charged monthly). You can do so at any time via the Subscription page.
We provide the following billing frequency discounts:
3 months: 5%
6 months: 7%
12 months: 15%
If you would like to pay more upfront (e.g. paying for 3 months at a time rather than every month) to avoid disruption but think it may be difficult for you to do so, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.
While we are hoping to improve this in the future, SCA will make it much harder to make any changes to your subscription after you make payment. For example, if you’ve been charged annually but would like to pay monthly instead, or you would prefer to be charged in a different currency, then please contact us.
To help you make any adjustments before you’re charged when SCA goes into effect, we’ll be providing prompts on the Subscription page to check your currency when adding a new card as well as a clearer breakdown when making any updates to your plan. However, if you’re already being charged in a certain currency, you may not be able to update this.
If you’re paying every three months or more, we’ll be in touch before your next payment is due to remind you to check your payment frequency and to make any updates before your next charge.
If you are unable to take an action such as changing the currency set for your payments, please contact email@example.com to discuss how we can help.
I’m currently paying via invoice, will SCA still apply to me?
If you make your payments via invoice, you may still be required to provide authorisation if you want to pay the invoiced amount via a credit or debit card. When making the invoice payment via a credit or debit card, you will be immediately requested to provide authorisation and won’t receive an email directly from Stripe.
If the main cardholder needs to authorize the transaction, you can forward the email you received from our invoicing provider - FreshBooks - to them so they can follow the steps to make the card payment and authorise it as needed.
If you’re currently being charged directly via card and would prefer to move to pay for your subscription via invoicing, please see this page for more information.
Please note that you will need to pay for at least three months upfront and will be charged a 3% fee in order to be charged via invoice.
Any other questions?
If you have any questions that this page hasn’t covered, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!