Mutations and polymorphisms in the gene encoding factor H (CFH) have been associated with atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome, dense deposit disease and age-related macular degeneration. The disease-predisposing CFH variants show a differential association with pathology that has been very useful to unravel critical events in the pathogenesis of one or other disease. In contrast, the factor H (fH)-Ile(62) polymorphism confers strong protection to all three diseases. Using ELISA-based methods and surface plasmon resonance analyses, we show here that the protective fH-Ile(62) variant binds more efficiently to C3b than fH-Val(62) and competes better with factor B in proconvertase formation. Functional analyses demonstrate an increased cofactor activity for fH-Ile(62) in the factor I-mediated cleavage of fluid phase and surface-bound C3b; however, the two fH variants show no differences in decay accelerating activity. From these data, we conclude that the protective effect of the fH-Ile(62) variant is due to its better capacity to bind C3b, inhibit proconvertase formation and catalyze inactivation of fluid-phase and surface-bound C3b. This demonstration of the functional consequences of the fH-Ile(62) polymorphism provides relevant insights into the complement regulatory activities of fH that will be useful in disease prediction and future development of effective therapeutics for disorders caused by complement dysregulation.