Last week my partner asked me to buy her some printer ink cartridges at a particular online store that sells such things so armed with her Visa card I undertook the quest.
Me: ‘Do you have a password for your Visa card?’
Partner: ‘Password? I have a pin number…’
Me: ‘No I think it’s different to your pin number.’
Partner: ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’
The temperature starts to rise as it’s late and it’s been a long day for both of us. The conversation escalates but is defused just in time before a nuclear strike is called in by either side.
The next day, my partner goes to the bank, the person behind the counter has no idea what Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode actually is. They tell her they do not supply passwords for credit cards. My partner then calls me and asks me to explain what happened to the person at the bank, more frustration. My partner eventually finds someone at the bank who knows vaguely what she’s talking about and he tells her that they don’t supply passwords for credit cards, but that you should be able to set one up at some point during the checkout process on this random, not particularly trusted website that she buys printer cartridges from.
So. Much. Win.
After doing some more research, it turns out that this is in fact some kind of partially aborted implementation of a what’s known as 3-D Secure an added layer of security used by Visa and MasterCard under the names Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode respectively.
I’m going to have to put some of the blame for this whole amusing (in hindsight) cluster fuck onto myself because I’m meant to know about this stuff, I’m paranoid enough to be using NoScript and the night in question was not my most blindingly brilliant moment of deductive reasoning. But none the less, this was still without a doubt the worst sales experience that I have had in all the years I have been buying stuff off the Internet. Regardless of the merit of 3-D Secure it’s self, if this is the current state of its implementation then yeah, no thanks.
3-D Secure? More like… 3-D Manure! Sorry, couldn’t resist.