Under industry pressure, the European Banking Authority has paved the way for some firms, on an „exceptional basis”, to get an extension of the September deadline for new Strong Consumer Authentication (SCA) rules for e-commerce transactions.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published an Opinion on the elements of strong customer authentication (SCA) under the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The Opinion is a response to continued queries from market actors as to which authentication approaches the EBA considers to be compliant with SCA. The Opinion also addresses concerns about the preparedness and compliance of some actors in the payments chain with the SCA requirements that apply as of 14 September 2019.
Today’s Opinion provides a non-exhaustive list of the authentication approaches currently observed in the market and states whether or not they are considered to be SCA compliant. The Opinion does so separately for each of the three SCA elements of knowledge, possession and inherence, and also provides clarifications regarding combinations of these elements.
The Opinion also responds to the concerns about market preparedness, by clarifying that the EBA is legally not able to postpone an application date that is set out in EU law. The Opinion also explains that sufficient time has been available for the industry to prepare for the application date of SCA, given that the definition of SCA had been set out in PSD2 when it was published in 2015, which gave clear indications that existing authentication approaches would need to be phased out, and because PSD2 already granted an additional 18-month period for the industry to implement SCA.
However, the Opinion acknowledges the complexity of the payments markets across the EU and the challenges arising from the changes that are required, in particular by actors that are not payment service providers (PSPs) and, therefore, not directly subject to PSD2 and the EBA’s technical standards, such as e-merchants, which may lead to some actors in the payments chain not being ready by 14 September 2019.
The EBA, therefore, accepts that, on an exceptional basis and in order to avoid unintended negative consequences for some payment service users after 14 September 2019, NCAs may decide to work with PSPs and relevant stakeholders, including consumers and merchants, to provide limited additional time. This is to allow issuers to migrate to authentication approaches that are compliant with SCA, such as those described in this Opinion, and acquirers to migrate their merchants to solutions that support SCA.
This supervisory flexibility is available under the condition that PSPs have set up a migration plan, have agreed the plan with their NCA, and will execute the plan in an expedited manner.
In order to fulfil the objectives of PSD2 and the EBA of achieving consistency across the EU, the EBA will later this year communicate deadlines by which the aforementioned actors will have to have completed their migration plans.
„Though Libra has met with fierce resistance from central banks and supervisory authorities and might never see the light of day, in many other cases tech firms (both start-ups and established big players) have successfully captured bits and pieces of universal banks’ traditional value chain. This trend may only intensify in the coming years. In this environment, European banks remain squeezed.”