Docs play_arrow Visa 3-D Secure

Visa 3DS 2.0 User Experience Guidelines


Welcome to the UX product guidelines for 3-Domain Secure 2.0 (3DS 2.0) flows on web browsers and mobile apps. Whether you’re a designer, developer, product manager, or business decision-maker, these guidelines will help you create the best experience for your customers.

3DS 2.0 is designed to prevent fraudulent online transactions. With this feature in place, an extra security layer helps keep transactions and accounts safer.

Note: Please note that the prototype screens are for illustrative purpose only.

Authentication redefined

The majority of transactions are frictionless, but sometimes transactions need to be challenged. In these circumstances, we present a challenge question or an action to verify that the purchaser is really the account holder.

A set of UX principles

In our world of UX, we live by three main principles, which are below. The overall effect is a quick and easy-to-follow flow for customers.

  • Keep it clear
  • Think human, not robotic
  • Be trustworthy

Want to begin? Let’s get started.


3DS 2.0 accommodates all screen sizes. Now you have the freedom and flexibility to customize the user interface to fit your digital brand identity.

Basic structure

Merchants can embed 3DS 2.0 into a web page (via iFrame) or native application (via a Webview). You can customize the user interface elements (e.g., buttons, fonts, inputs) for all content for any challenge method you use.

As an issuer, you should always consider how merchants will implement 3DS 2.0.

Challenge anatomy

The layout of every challenge follows a natural hierarchy. A consistent hierarchy leads to a better customer experience.

Responsive design

Merchants expect 3DS 2.0 to be adaptive to all screen sizes (e.g., phone, tablet, and desktop devices).


In this section, we explore how merchants could implement 3DS 2.0 guidelines based on our layout recommendations and guidelines for merchants. Choices will vary based on technical capabilities and existing platforms.

Merchants could implement a modal view that sits above their checkout page, however, we advise using full width and full height layouts for small screens.

Overlay example

Merchants could implement an overlay that sits above their checkout page, e.g., a slide in panel.

In-page example

Merchants could place the challenge directly into a web page or web view (inline) during the checkout process. This is commonly used in 3DS 1.0 implementations.

Challenge Methods

This section contains descriptions for 3DS 2.0 challenge methods, which includes desktop versions of the flow.


When customers are asked to verify transactions, they are presented with a challenge flow. The challenge method that's used is determined by the issuer. To ensure a smooth customer experience, issuers and ACS providers are required to display explanatory text on challenge screens.

Method 1: One-time passcode (OTP)

Customers verify transactions using a secure code sent by text or email. Issuers can choose which delivery channels to make available for the customer. We recommend providing both to the customer.

Click here to see prototype screens:

OTP by SMS: Prototype Link

OTP by Email: Prototype Link

Method 2: Knowledge-based authentication (KBA)

Customers verify transactions by answering knowledge-based questions. Issuers can choose which methods to make available for customers. 

Click here to see prototype screens.

Method 3: Out-of-band (OOB)

Customers verify transactions by entering a passcode or a biometric feature. Issuers can choose which methods to make available for customers. 

Issuer app passcode (or credentials) to authenticate users

A customer's purchase can be verified on the existing issuer app by entering sign-in credentials. We advise using a sign-in passcode on small screens for ease of use. Our recommended journey uses a mobile device to authenticate, no matter which channel is used to make purchases.

Click here to see prototype screens.

Biometrics: Fingerprint

Many iOS and Android users already have the ability to use fingerprint scanning to access their phones. We recommend using the same method to authenticate customers. We advise any biometric authentication is used in addition to a passcode. So if biometric authentication issues arise, the customer may switch to a passcode. 

Click here to see prototype screens.

Biometrics: Voice recognition

Another method of authentication is voice recognition. This can be done directly via issuer app or via a connected device linked to an issuer app, such as a digital watch. 

Click here to see prototype screens.

Biometrics: Facial recognition

Users can also be authenticated using face recognition. Some iOS and Android devices already have the capability to identify users with this method. 

Click here to see prototype screens.


We recommend giving users the flexibility to select a method of authentication (i.e., via passcode or fingerprint) and/or notification settings.    

Automatic enrollment. Welcoming users.

We recommend issuers enroll users to 3DS automatically. Once users are enrolled, we advise welcoming users in their banking app with the option to change the default settings.    


According to the Web Accessibility Initiative, the percentage of people with disabilities in many populations is between 10% and 20%; an estimated 285 million people have a form of visual impairment; and 10-15% of the world's population has dyslexia. We recommend that designers refer to international standards according to the AA-level Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. We've collected a quick list of suggestions for different areas.

For full accessibility guidelines, visit

Assistive technologies

Top Tips

  • Content should be readable by screen readers (non visible), screen magnifiers (e.g., ZoomText, MAGic), speech recognition software and native operating system speech packages.
  • Colors should not the only method of communicating information. For example, a red outline that indicates an error should be accompanied with text to indicate the error.
  • Avoid low color contrast combinations such as blue links on black backgrounds or red text on green backgrounds.
  • To allow users to customize their contrast settings, it's better to put in text format rather than in graphics format.

Top Tips 

  • Make it easy for people to move between content sections. Consider the semantic document structure, e.g., correct heading levels.
  • Present important information up front not back to front.
  • Use buttons where an action is associated with a navigation element (e.g., submit form), and links when moving between locations.

Keyboard accessibility

Top Tips

  • Mouse-over information and tasks should be keyboard-accessible.
  • Consider the WCAG 2.0 standards for shortcut consistency. Blind users utilize keyboards to navigate elements on your interface or swipe through elements on mobile devices (small screens).

Touch targets

Top Tips

  • Ensure a touch target's minimum size is 9mm x 9 mm and has adequate amount of padding surrounding it.
  • For mobile devices, target areas must be large enough to tap comfortably with one finger.
  • Nest headings properly. When stepping down through heading, skipping levels should be avoided.

<h1>Page title</h1>

<h2>Section header</h2>

<h3>subsection header </h3>

<h1>Page title</h1>

<h3>subsection header </h3>

Zoom (focus on pinch)

Top Tips

  • Pinch Zoom must be supported for web pages without loss of content or functionality.


Top Tips

  • Indicate purpose of all interactive controls with text labels, tooltips, or placeholder text.
  • Provide the most relevant information first.
  • Name elements using consistent terminology throughout.

Logos and images

Top Tips

  • Label all form controls, including text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, and drop down menus.
  • Provide alternative text for every image that conveys content or has function.
  • Set “attribute” to null for decorative images.
  • Make sure the alternative text is descriptive but succinct.

Writing for accessbility

Top Tips

  • Reader should be able to scan content on screen and understand it.
  • Ensure the message is clear and doesn’t rely on colors and imagery.
  • Mobile accessibility features must not inhibit the UX.
  • Technical markup, syntax, and structure must be correct.

Visit for full accessibility standards.

UI components

Recommendations and examples for challenge user interface elements.

We have split specific journeys into focused content blocks to tell a clear, linear story through challenges. As such, there is no back button functionality in 3DS 2.0.

Text field

Some challenges require text entry by entering a secure one-time passcode (OTP) or providing a knowledge-based answer (KBA).

Text field labels

For specific tasks, clearly label all form fields with descriptions for the required actions. Labels can be implemented in many ways but should adhere to the following rules.

  • Secondary contextual information (e.g., authentication help text) should be displayed inline. For security purposes, we don't allow addition external links.
  • Labels that are shown as placeholders inside text fields must be visible (e.g., floating labels) when a text field is active or information has been entered.
  • Labels are displayed above the text field at all times. If a user presses the label, the text field automatically becomes active.


Label buttons as calls-to-action to complete a task in challenges. Upon touch, the text field automatically becomes active.

Touch targets

  • Ensure a touch target's minimum size is 9mm x 9 mm and has an adequate amount of padding surrounding it.
  • For mobile devices, target areas must be large enough to tap comfortably with one finger.


  • Keep button styles consistent, with clear color contrast against the background.

Radio buttons

Radio buttons allow users to select one option. When only one option is available, the button is selected by default.    

Touch targets

  • Ensure buttons and connected labels can be pressed. This increases the touch target area and makes selections easier.


  • Should be touchable/clickable and result in a selected state.
  • Use sentence case for label descriptions.


Checkboxes allow people to select multiple options.

Touch targets

  • Ensure buttons and connected labels can be pressed. This increases the touch target area and makes selections easier.


  • Make sure labels are able to be pressed.
  • Use sentence case for label descriptions.

Inline error messaging

Error messages require three elements:

1. What went wrong?

The message informs the user which action/inaction resulted in the error message to appear.

2. How to fix the problem

Provide directions on how the user can "fix" the issue and move forward. Indicate to users how long a system error will take to restore and provide a suitable option to exit.

3. Clearly display error messages

The best practice is for error messages to be distinguishable from existing content, displayed in red and in close proximity to where the error occurred.

System error messaging

Any system issues that affect pages should result in a message page displayed to the users.

The information page should provide the following information:

  • Inform users of the system issue in a non-technical way.
  • Tell users what to do and, if possible, how long it will take to resume.
  • Make it clear the error is not because of the user’s actions.


Long wait times may cause users to drop off. A progress indicator informs users of activity and that loading is imminent.

  • Use the circular progress indicator.
  • Content should load in less than 1 second in most cases.

3DS Implementation Guide

The Issuer Implementation Guide provides details on:

  •  Visa's 3-D Secure 2.0 Program
  •  Program Rules
  •  Implementation Details for an Issuer

The Merchant/Acquirer Implementation Guide provides details on the same areas, but for Merchants and Acquirers.

The implementation guides supplement the Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules. 

To get access to the latest documents, please visit Visa Online at and then search for “3-D Secure”

Important Information on Copyright and Disclaimers

© 2018 Visa. All Rights Reserved

Notice: The trademarks, logos, trade names and service marks, whether registered or unregistered (collectively the “Trademarks”) are Trademarks owned by Visa. All other trademarks not attributed to Visa are the property of their respective owners, are used for identification purposes only and do not imply product endorsement or affiliation with Visa.

Note: This document is not part of the Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules. In the event of any conflict between any content in this document, any document referenced herein, any exhibit to this document, or any communications concerning this document, and any content in the Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules, the Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules shall govern and control.