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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

The Future of Biometric Payments – For Safer, Simpler Authentication

The launch of Apple Pay last week marked a major milestone in payments technology.  We are hugely proud to be part of it, and we will be showcasing our wider security credentials at World Retail Congress in Paris at the end of this month.

Until now, the idea of running out for some milk, walking into a store and using your thumb print to make the purchase has sounded futuristic, even if the technology has been in place for a while.

We have already had great success in Africa, with financial inclusion projects which use biometrics to identify millions of cardholders.  Yet the launch of Apple Pay will start to bring true scale to the next generation of payments authentication.

Apple has also taken a step towards solving the identity problem.  Our belief is that we should be able to identify ourselves without having to use passwords or PIN numbers.

Flickr Photo: Infographic: Evolution of Payment Security Innovation

So how can we take this technology and implement it across the industry for all devices, banks, merchants, and consumers?

Our challenge is to take lessons from the different applications of biometrics already in place and elevate them into the next generation of authentication, not just for one platform, but for the mass market globally.

To help, we recently held a closed pilot to understand the consumer experience around voice and facial recognition. We created a beta mobile app which we tested in an e-commerce environment on over 14,000 transactions.

The test group, drawn from MasterCard employees around the world, used both Android and iOS operating systems.  The results were very exciting, yielding a successful verification rate of 98%, mixing a combination of voice and facial recognition. The process usually took less than 10 seconds.

It is crucial for us constantly innovate to stay ahead of fraudsters – this has been true since we were established nearly 50 years ago. Safety and security is at the heart of our business, and that also means providing a seamless experience that delights the consumer in its simplicity.

As biometric authentication becomes mainstream, we are well positioned to take advantage, with products already in the market and trials pioneering biometric technology underway.  The finger print is just the start.  For more information on this, take a look at our latest video on safety and security and read up on our approach to payment security here.