In the realm of digital transactions, in-car payments represent a significant advancement, blending convenience with cutting-edge technology. This article explores the intricate world of in-car payments and the pivotal role of 3D Secure technology in revolutionising this field by providing enhanced security and a smoother user experience.

What are in-car payments?

The mechanics of in-car payment systems

In-car payments, facilitated through integrated platforms within a vehicle’s infotainment system, allow drivers to conduct transactions for services like fuel, tolls, and food without leaving their vehicle.

Key players in the in-car payment industry

Major automotive manufacturers like Chevrolet, Daimler, GM, Honda, and Tesla are partnering with tech companies who, in collaboration with financial institutions, are leading the charge in developing these innovative payment solutions. One example, announced last September (2023) by Mastercard and Mercedes-Benz, is an in-car payment partnership aimed at Mercedes drivers in Germany, allowing customers to make digital payments directly from their car using their fingerprint at more than 3,600 service stations in the country.1

3D secure technology: an overview

Understanding 3D secure and its importance

3D Secure adds a layer of security to online credit and debit card transactions, involving real-time authentication to verify the cardholder’s identity.

How 3D secure enhances online transaction security

This technology significantly bolsters the security of online transactions, deterring unauthorised/fraudulent transactions and fostering trust in digital payment systems.

Tokenisation and vaulting

Understanding tokenisation in digital payments

Tokenisation replaces sensitive card details with unique tokens during transactions, enhancing the security of in-car payments by protecting actual card details.

The role of vaulting in secure payments

Vaulting secures cardholder information, allowing for secure and convenient recurring payments in in-car systems. The vaulting process involves encrypting and storing sensitive payment data, such as credit card details, in a secure and controlled digital vault allowing seamless and secure payments to be made from within the vehicle without having to repeatedly enter payment information. The concept is similar to that commonly seen in other digital payment systems, where the goal is to enhance convenience while maintaining robust security measures.

Payment authentication and biometrics

Advancements in payment authentication methods

Incorporating advanced authentication methods, such as OTPs and push notifications, aligned with 3D Secure protocols, fortifies the security of in-car payments.

Incorporating biometrics for enhanced security

Biometric authentication methods like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition offer secure, quick, and user-friendly verification processes, aligning well with 3D Secure standards.

Vehicle wallets

The concept of vehicle wallets

Vehicle wallets, equipped with digital wallets within the vehicle, facilitate automatic transactions for various services, adding convenience to the in-car payment experience.

Integrating 3D secure with vehicle wallets

The integration of 3D Secure with vehicle wallets ensures secure and authenticated transactions, leveraging the technology to safeguard against fraud.

Integrating 3D secure with in-car payments

Challenges and solutions

The integration process involves addressing challenges such as seamless user authentication and exploring solutions like biometric authentication and voice commands.


While 3D Secure is not universally mandated for in-car payments, its requirement can depend on the following factors:

  • Region: Regulations like Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) in Europe mandate 3DS2 for specific types of online transactions, including in-car payments in some cases.
  • Payment network: Visa and Mastercard, for example, encourage the use of 3DS2 for in-car payments but do not necessarily enforce it.
  • Specific payment scenario: Contactless payments using NFC technology might have different requirements than payments through connected car infotainment systems.

Overall, while not always mandatory, 3DS2 offers significant security advantages for in-car payments. Implementing it can help businesses comply with regulations, reduce fraud, and improve user experience.

Benefits of 3D secure in in-car payments

Enhanced security features

The inclusion of 3D Secure significantly amplifies the security of transactions, ensuring authorised payments and minimising fraud risks.

Improved user experience and convenience

3D Secure also enhances the user experience by simplifying authentication processes, making transactions quick and seamless.

Future trends in in-car payments

Predictions and upcoming innovations

The future points towards AI-driven payment solutions and increased integration with in-vehicle technologies, promising a more personalised and secure payment experience.

The role of AI and machine learning in in-car payments

AI and ML are expected to introduce predictive payment features, enhancing the convenience and security of in-car payments. In a blog post on in-car payments, Olivier Bessi and Oleg Lebedyn conclude:

Not only do in-car payments open up new revenue streams for merchants and payment facilitators, but they also improve the customer experience. Connected commerce adds value by making purchases faster and more convenient. These systems can even surprise and delight customers by using data and AI technology to suggest relevant goods and services, anticipate drivers’ needs, and shed light on desires they didn’t even know they had.2

Addressing security concerns

Common security risks in digital payments

Understanding the risks associated with digital payments, such as data breaches and unauthorised access, is essential for developing more secure payment platforms.

How 3D secure mitigates these risks

3D Secure plays a crucial role in mitigating these risks by ensuring robust authentication for each transaction, thereby protecting sensitive financial information.

Regulatory landscape

Regulations governing in-car payments

Navigating the evolving regulatory landscape is vital for ensuring compliance and security in the realm of in-car payments.

Impact of global standards on 3D secure implementation

Adhering to global standards and regulations is critical for the successful implementation of 3D Secure in in-car payment systems, ensuring a secure and universally accepted payment ecosystem.

Consumer acceptance and adoption

Consumer attitudes towards in-car payments

Understanding and addressing consumer attitudes is key to the widespread adoption of in-car payment systems. A research report from Visa and PYMNTS (web) states, ‘Nearly 75% of all commuters, and 82% of millennials with long commutes said they would shop more if the ability to shop and pay were integrated into their cars.’3

Strategies to boost consumer confidence

Enhancing consumer confidence involves ensuring comprehensive security, simplifying the user experience, and educating consumers about the benefits and safety features of these systems.


In-car payments are well on their way to revolutionise the payment industry. When augmented with 3D Secure technology, this mode of payment not only assures enhanced security, but also provides a streamlined and convenient payment experience. As we move forward, the continued evolution of this technology will shape the future of transactions on the road. Soon enough, in-car payments will become table stakes – a feature customers expect to see in their vehicle, and one that may even influence their purchasing decision.


1 PYMNTS. (n.d.). Mercedes Pay Uses Biometrics to Drive Commerce in the Car.

2 Bessi, O., & Lebedyn, O. (n.d.). Automotive and Mobility. How OEMs can drive adoption of in-car payment solutions while improving the customer experience.

3 Visa. (n.d.). Nearly 75% of all commuters, and 82% of millennials with long commutes said they would shop more if the ability to shop and pay were integrated into their cars, according to a research report from Visa and LinkedIn.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How do in-car payments work with 3D Secure technology?
  2. What are the main benefits of using 3D Secure for in-car payments?
  3. Are there any risks associated with in-car payments, and how does 3D Secure mitigate them?
  4. How might AI and machine learning further enhance in-car payment systems in the future?
  5. What are the challenges in integrating 3D Secure with in-car payment systems, and how can they be overcome?
  6. How can consumers ensure their security while using in-car payment systems?