Authenticate with Secure Payment Confirmation

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Merchants can use Secure Payment Confirmation (SPC) as part of a strong customer authentication (SCA) process for a given credit card or bank account. WebAuthn performs the authentication (frequently through biometrics). WebAuthn must be registered in advance, which you can learn about in Register a Secure Payment Confirmation.

How a typical implementation works

The most common use for SPC is when a customer makes a purchase on a merchant's site, and the credit card issuer or bank requires payer authentication.

Authentication workflow.

Let's walk through the authentication flow:

  1. A customer provides their payment credentials (such as credit card information) to the merchant.
  2. The merchant asks the payment credential's corresponding issuer or bank (relying party or RP) if the payer needs a separate authentication. This exchange might happen, for example, with EMV® 3-D Secure.
    • If the RP wishes the merchant to use SPC, and if the user has previously registered, the RP responds with a list of credential IDs registered by the payer and a challenge.
    • If an authentication is not needed, the merchant can continue to complete the transaction.
  3. If an authentication is needed, the merchant determines whether the browser supports SPC.
    • If the browser does not support SPC, proceed with the existing authentication flow.
  4. The merchant invokes SPC. The browser displays a confirmation dialog.
    • If there are no credential IDs passed from the RP, fall back to the existing authentication flow.
      After a successful authentication, consider using SPC registration to streamline future authentications.
  5. The user confirms and authenticates the amount and the destination of the payment by unlocking the device.
  6. The merchant receives a credential from the authentication.
  7. The RP receives the credential from the merchant and verifies its authenticity.
  8. The RP sends the verification results to the merchant.
  9. The merchant shows the user a message to indicate if the payment was successful or unsuccessful.
Gotchas

To quickly support an initial SPC experiment, this API was designed atop existing implementations of the Payment Request and Payment Handler APIs. There is now general agreement to explore a design of SPC independent of Payment Request. We expect (without a concrete timeline) that SPC will move away from its payment request origins.

For developers, this should improve feature detection, invocation, and other aspects of the API.

Feature detection

To detect whether SPC is supported on the browser, you can send a fake call to canMakePayment().

Copy and paste the following code to feature detect SPC on a merchant's website.

const isSecurePaymentConfirmationSupported = async () => {
if (!'PaymentRequest' in window) {
return [false, 'Payment Request API is not supported'];
}

try {
// The data below is the minimum required to create the request and
// check if a payment can be made.
const supportedInstruments = [
{
supportedMethods: "secure-payment-confirmation",
data: {
// RP's hostname as its ID
rpId: 'rp.example',
// A dummy credential ID
credentialIds: [new Uint8Array(1)],
// A dummy challenge
challenge: new Uint8Array(1),
instrument: {
// Non-empty display name string
displayName: ' ',
// Transparent-black pixel.
icon: 'data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAABCAYAAAAfFcSJAAAADUlEQVR42mNk+P+/HgAFhAJ/wlseKgAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==',
},
// A dummy merchant origin
payeeOrigin: 'https://non-existent.example',
}
}
];

const details = {
// Dummy shopping details
total: {label: 'Total', amount: {currency: 'USD', value: '0'}},
};

const request = new PaymentRequest(supportedInstruments, details);
const canMakePayment = await request.canMakePayment();
return [canMakePayment, canMakePayment ? '' : 'SPC is not available'];
} catch (error) {
console.error(error);
return [false, error.message];
}
};

isSecurePaymentConfirmationSupported().then(result => {
const [isSecurePaymentConfirmationSupported, reason] = result;
if (isSecurePaymentConfirmationSupported) {
// Display the payment button that invokes SPC.
} else {
// Fallback to the legacy authentication method.
}
});

Authenticate the user

To authenticate the user, invoke the PaymentRequest.show() method with secure-payment-confirmation and WebAuthn parameters:

Here's the parameters you should provide to the payment method's data property, SecurePaymentConfirmationRequest.

ParameterDescription
rpIdThe hostname of the RP origin as RP ID.
challengeA random challenge that prevents replay attacks.
credentialIdsAn array of credential IDs. In WebAuthn's authentication, allowCredentials property accepts an array of PublicKeyCredentialDescriptor objects, but in SPC, you only pass a list of credential IDs.
payeeName (optional)Name of the payee.
payeeOriginThe origin of the payee. In the above mentioned scenario, it's the merchant's origin.
instrumentA string for displayName and a URL for icon that points to an image resource. An optional boolean (defaults to true) for iconMustBeShown that specifies an icon must be successfully fetched and shown for the request to succeed.
timeoutTimeout to sign the transaction in milliseconds
extensionsExtensions added to WebAuthn call. You don't have to specify the "payment" extension yourself.

Check out this example code:

// After confirming SPC is available on this browser via a feature detection,
// fetch the request options cross-origin from the RP server.
const options = fetchFromServer('https://rp.example/spc-auth-request');
const { credentialIds, challenge } = options;

const request = new PaymentRequest([{
// Specify `secure-payment-confirmation` as payment method.
supportedMethods: "secure-payment-confirmation",
data: {
// The RP ID
rpId: 'rp.example',

// List of credential IDs obtained from the RP server.
credentialIds,

// The challenge is also obtained from the RP server.
challenge,

// A display name and an icon that represent the payment instrument.
instrument: {
displayName: "Fancy Card ****1234",
icon: "https://rp.example/card-art.png",
iconMustBeShown: false
},

// The origin of the payee (merchant)
payeeOrigin: "https://merchant.example",

// The number of milliseconds to timeout.
timeout: 360000, // 6 minutes
}
}], {
// Payment details.
total: {
label: "Total",
amount: {
currency: "USD",
value: "5.00",
},
},
});

try {
const response = await request.show();

// response.details is a PublicKeyCredential, with a clientDataJSON that
// contains the transaction data for verification by the issuing bank.
// Make sure to serialize the binary part of the credential before
// transferring to the server.
const result = fetchFromServer('https://rp.example/spc-auth-response', response.details);
if (result.success) {
await response.complete('success');
} else {
await response.complete('fail');
}
} catch (err) {
// SPC cannot be used; merchant should fallback to traditional flows
console.error(err);
}

The .show() function results in a PaymentResponse object except the details contains a public key credential with a clientDataJSON that contains the transaction data (payment) for verification by the RP.

The resulting credential must be transferred cross-origin to the RP and verified.

How the RP verifies the transaction

Verifying the transaction data at the RP server is the most important step in the payment process.

To verify the transaction data, the RP can follow WebAuthn's authentication assertion verification process. In addition, they need to verify the payment.

An example payload of the clientDataJSON:

{
"type":"payment.get",
"challenge":"SAxYy64IvwWpoqpr8JV1CVLHDNLKXlxbtPv4Xg3cnoc",
"origin":"https://spc-merchant.glitch.me",
"crossOrigin":false,
"payment":{
"rp":"spc-rp.glitch.me",
"topOrigin":"https://spc-merchant.glitch.me",
"payeeOrigin":"https://spc-merchant.glitch.me",
"total":{
"value":"15.00",
"currency":"USD"
},
"instrument":{
"icon":"https://cdn.glitch.me/94838ffe-241b-4a67-a9e0-290bfe34c351%2Fbank.png?v=1639111444422",
"displayName":"Fancy Card 825809751248"
}
}
}
Caution

The type property uses payment.get instead of public-key. This may require some tweaking to the existing WebAuthn libraries, if you choose to use one of them.

  • The rp matches the RP's origin.
  • The topOrigin matches the top-level origin that the RP expects (the merchant's origin in the example above).
  • The payeeOrigin matches the origin of the payee that should have been displayed to the user.
  • The total matches the transaction amount that should have been displayed to the user.
  • The instrument matches the payment instrument details that should have been displayed to the user.
const clientData = base64url.decode(response.clientDataJSON);
const clientDataJSON = JSON.parse(clientData);

if (!clientDataJSON.payment) {
throw 'The credential does not contain payment payload.';
}

const payment = clientDataJSON.payment;
if (payment.rp !== expectedRPID ||
payment.topOrigin !== expectedOrigin ||
payment.payeeOrigin !== expectedOrigin ||
payment.total.value !== '15.00' ||
payment.total.currency !== 'USD') {
throw 'Malformed payment information.';
}

After all the verification criteria have been passed, the RP can tell the merchant that the transaction is successful.

Next steps

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