Amid growing concerns about cyber crime, the credit card giants, MasterCard and Visa, are introducing the next generation of payment security measures.
MasterCard announced plans Friday to invest more than US$20 million in technology enhancements to bolster security. In the spring, MasterCard plans to launch an additional, independent layer of security on top of the measures taken by financial institutions, to monitor and block transactions based on certain criteria. The new initiative, known as MasterCard Safety Net, is designed to reduce the risk of fraud or cyberattacks early on, before card issuers and processors might notice the threat. The firm says that it will only intervene in extreme cases to block fraudulent activity.
Additionally, later this year, the company will launch a pilot program that will enable consumers to authenticate and verify their transactions using biometrics, such as facial and voice recognition and fingerprint matching. The pilot will be rolled out with a SiliconValley-based credit union, First Tech Federal Credit Union.
Also Friday, Visa Inc. announced that it is expanding the use of new security technology that replaces the traditional 16-digit account number with a unique series of numbers that can authorize payment without exposing actual account details, known as the Visa Token Service (VTS). The measure aims to help to prevent the exposure of sensitive consumer account information in online and mobile payments.
So far, more than 500 financial institutions have started to implement the new technology, which was launched in September 2014. And, in 2015, Visa says that the service will expand to more payment environments. The firm plans to tokenize transactions initiated online with its online payment service; and, in 2015, it says that financial institutions globally will also begin deploying the VTS in their mobile payment applications and services.
“Removing card account numbers from the processing and storage of payments represents one of the most innovative and promising technologies we’ve seen in decades,” said Charlie Scharf, chief executive officer, Visa. “This, combined with chip card technology, advances in account holder authentication through analytics and biometrics, and more sophisticated risk monitoring, will allow Visa account holders to enjoy new, secure payment experiences.”
“These new activities will help us continue to deliver the tools and solutions that instill a peace of mind by protecting each transaction that crosses our network,” said Chris McWilton, president of North American Markets for MasterCard. “Our continued investments reinforce the efforts we are taking to protect the payments system for cardholders, merchants and issuers.”