MasterCard Embraces Tokenization, Biometric Authentication

MasterCard Embraces Tokenization, Biometric Authentication

MasterCard is pushing ahead with new payment security technologies as it fights to stay competitive with alternative transaction tools. The company is now exploring biometric authentication for online payments, and introducing tokenization for card information.

The company is advertising its biometric authentication system as a password replacement, aimed at both improving customer security and encouraging online commerce, where cumbersome password requirements can thwart transactions. Called MasterCard Identity Check, it’s meant for purchases made through smartphones, allowing users to authenticate the transactions via video selfie (facial recognition requiring a blink for liveness detection) or via fingerprint scanning, with that biometric technology now widely available on mid- and high-end smartphones.

Meanwhile, MasterCard’s new tokenization system is aimed at adding another layer of security to all kinds of online transactions. Called MaserCard Digital Enablement Services (MDES), the system basically encrypts a payment card’s information, making it unreadable as it’s transmitted online.

The catch is, it could take a bit of time before these security tools actually come into play for most MasterCard customers. Speaking to International Business Times, MasterCard international markets president Ann Cairns said that MDES is “just starting to happen; the banks are starting to adopt it, the merchants are starting to adopt it.” And MasterCard Identity Check won’t be available in the US until the middle of next year, with a global rollout planned for 2017. In the meantime, alternatives like mPayment platforms will continue to pick up steam, with some already pioneering these same kinds of security technologies.

Sources: International Business Times, The Telegraph

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October 6, 2015 – by Alex Perala