How technology makes payment transactions safe and simple

by  — 14 July 2015

In the past decade, advances in technology have accelerated almost every aspect of our lives – none more so than the way we pay. But with every progressive step towards making payments faster and simpler, new threats emerge from fraudsters determined to exploit these new systems. And while payment technologies have never been safer, criminals continue to get smarter, writes Raghav Prasad.

It is no coincidence that amid the rapid growth of digital transactions, cybercrime has become one of the biggest concerns to consumers, businesses and national economies ever seen. The need to secure payment channels grows every day both here in Qatar and throughout the world.

Nearly a quarter of all purchase volume originates from mobile devices, and that number is growing rapidly. As payment products become more complex and payment channels more numerous, issuers demand better fraud monitoring and detection strategies that account for the complexities of today’s marketplace.

However, these measures to combat fraud should not defeat the very purpose of new payment technologies – to make transactions faster and easier.

MasterCard’s innovations in authentication are a case in point. The rate of online fraud is three times higher than in the real world because identification is more difficult. But while password authentication has improved security, it also makes payments more cumbersome.

Now, through biometric technology – such as fingerprint, voice and facial recognition – as well as the latest 3DS 2.0, or 3D Secure 2.0 authentication service, the need for a password is being eliminated.  In doing so, MasterCard is making identification not only more secure, but also faster and simpler too. Safety and security are not hindrances to more efficient payments – the two go hand in hand. As an organisation, MasterCard innovates to stay ahead of criminals while constantly improving the payment experience for customers. Since there is no surefire way to fight fraud, the approach adopted is multi-layered. For instance, 3DS 2.0, which will soon replace the existing 3DS or 3D Secure (SecureCode), will be the largest wholesale upgrade to online payment security.  It will benefit consumers, banks and merchants alike, with invisible authentication and fewer prompts for passwords, as well as increased approval rates.

The tool will utilise richer cardholder data, which will result in fewer password interruptions at the point of sale.  In the event that an authentication challenge is needed, cardholders will be able to identify themselves with the likes of one-time passwords, or fingerprint biometrics, rather than committing static passwords to memory.

Consumers want speed and simplicity, not frustrating prompts for passwords, and while the removal of passwords may seem counter intuitive, when it comes to data security, static passwords are vulnerable. We simply have too many to remember and so many of us fall into the habit of either writing them down or using the same password for everything.

This is why, in addition to developments in 3DS 2.0, we are already running trials of biometric payment technology to help consumers make purchases more easily, with even greater security, and also satisfying forthcoming regulatory and government rules for a two-form authentication process.

As we move into a future where technology continues to impact the way we pay, we will ensure safety and security remains our number one priority, and continue to innovate so everyone is protected everywhere and every time they pay, which will ultimately define and defend the future of payments.

Raghav Prasad is general manager for Gulf countries, MasterCard.

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