3D Secure to become mandatory this summer.

3D Secure, aka Verified by Visa and Mastercard Securecode, is set to become mandatory on all UK e-commerce Web sites from July 1st this year, Visa and Mastercard have quietly announced.

According to Safebuy, one of the Web's leading e-trust services, the driving force behind the move is the continuing rise in Internet card fraud.

Barclays has moved even quicker, says Safebuy, as the bank has started charging its online merchants an extra 0.5 per cent commission when accepting cards, and where the merchant hasn't enabled 3D Secure on its Web site.

Online merchants are reported to be up in arms over the issue, since it adds one or more stages to the card purchase process, and, says Safebuy, the more steps are involved in a purchase, the more customers drop out before completing.

Perhaps worse, Safebuy says that there's been very little publicity to cardholders about the 3D Secure system, although that is changing - only yesterday yours truly got a note in my bank statement from HSBC about the system becoming mandatory for Mastercard cardholders from later this year.

As Safebuy says in its member newsletter:

"Remember all the publicity surrounding Chip and Pin? We've seen nothing like that for 3D Secure. It's got disaster written all over it, at least in the short term."

I couldn't have put it better myself. What a potential mess...