What is 'Verified by Visa' and can you make it go away?

The security system is a source of frustration for many trying to shop online

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Martin Keene / PA

I have honestly lost count of how many times Verified By Visa has locked me out of my account, meaning I can't purchase whatever it is I was looking to purchase. If you've ever had a similar experience and wondered 'what is the point of this?!' then wonder no more. 

Verified by Visa is a solution designed to make online shopping more secure. It helps ensure that payments are made by the rightful owner of a Visa account and nobody else.  

Despite what the name may have you believe, Verified By Visa is actually a service offered by banks and providers, rather than Visa directly. 

Each bank has their own name for the online transaction security system. Bank of Ireland called is 3D secure, while AIB calls it Secure Internet Shopping. Ulster Bank simply calls it Ulster Bank Secure

How does it work?

Consumers looking to shop online may be prompted by an online retailer to set up a Verified By Visa system. This is a requirement for individual retailers to try and stamp out fraudulent purchases. It is used by some 300,000 websites across Europe.

Once you have set up an account, you'll be met with this screen from that point on when shopping on particular websites. It will prompt you for the password. 



Can I make it go away?

I asked a spokesperson for Visa that very question this week and received the following reply.   

"It is important to note that Visa does not hold a direct relationship with cardholders and Verified by Visa is offered to consumers by issuing banks and requested by specific retailers who participate in the scheme."

This means that if you have an issue with the service, you need to contact your bank. It's worth noting that if the retailer has requested the Verified By Visa system on their online shop, you may not be able to purchase from them without it. 

You can identify sites that use Verified By Visa by looking out for this symbol. 

If you have locked yourself out of your Verified By Visa account by forgetting the password, you can contact your bank and they will unlock it for you.