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Arts venues report failed payments after an updated online verification process was made mandatory, due to banks being unprepared to facilitate the switchover.

Exterior of a ticket office. A black and white building with three windows that have the word 'tickets' printed over


Banks must take greater responsibility for ensuring technology upgrades to payment systems are implemented seamlessly after arts and culture venues lost revenue due to a switchover to a new online verification process, a major ticketing firm has said.

Last year, it became compulsory for all online transactions in the UK to use 3D Secure v2 (3DS2) authentication, which added an extra level of authentication akin to authorising a payment on a mobile banking app to the existing 3D Secure v1 (3DS1) protocol.

Arts venues that use online payments were warned of the switchover months in advance, but some of those fully prepared for the switch found the majority of their payments failing after 3DS1 transactions were taken offline on 15 October.


Ticketsolve, a ticketing and marketing firm with offices in Manchester and Dublin, said there is “no way of measuring the opportunity cost” across the sector caused by the issue, and has called on banks and other payment bodies to take action to make sure it does not happen again.

Among those affected were Colchester Arts Centre, which sells tickets to its in-house performances online. General Manager Joanne Parry told Arts Professional the venue faced weeks of failing ticket payments before the problem was finally resolved as being an issue with Mastercard.

Colchester Arts Centre was notified of the move to 3DS2 payments by both their ticketing software provider, Ticketsolve, and their merchant services provider, Global Payments. The venue agreed to switch off 3DS1 payments ahead of the 15 October deadline as they were fully prepared for the transfer to 3DS2. 

Parry said the venue initially received “a trickle of calls to say payments were failing online”, before the problem escalated on 15 October, when Mastercard and Visa payments “just stopped”.

She said the venue’s phone system couldn’t cope with the volume of calls it was receiving due to failed payments at the time.

“We generally release big ticket sales on a Friday and we were getting no payments and unable to answer the calls as we are a small venue [and] are not set up to receive hundreds of calls at once,” Parry said.

When problems began, Parry contacted her ticketing provider, merchant services provider and bank, who each told her they needed to contact the other to sort the problem.

“Following multiple emails, phone calls and sleepless nights we were eventually informed it was an issue at Mastercard and they were not prepared for what would or wouldn’t happen when 3DS1 was switched off nor of the impact it would have on their customers,” she explained.

Parry says Colchester Arts Centre’s system was back up and running without issues by 24 October.

“We are a small regional arts centre and I was completely out of my depth trying to fix a problem that turned out to be with Mastercard,” she said.

“I feel stressed remembering what we had gone through.”

Many venues affected

Ticketsolve told Arts Professional many of their clients ran into similar issues of online payments failing when 3DS1 was switched off, despite the venues being prepared for the move to 3DS2.

It these instances, the issue was often found to lie with the fact the venue’s bank was not prepared to facilitate the switchover.

“In a climate where every ticket sold makes a difference to keeping the lights on, not only are organisations having to respond to the frustration caused to their customers, but they are also heavily investing time in resolving an issue that feels totally out of their hands,” a Ticketsolve spokesperson told Arts Professional.

“There is no measurement on the opportunity cost caused by poor management and communications by banks, payment gateways and other payment issuing bodies. 

“The pressure felt needs to be taken away from the sector and put to the institutions that have the control to make the necessary changes and ensure that no further revenue is lost to the sector.”

Advice on Ticketsolve's website suggests venues facing issues with failed online payment contact their merchant services provider and bank.