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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES): Making Digital Payments Happen

The convergence of physical and digital commerce is not in the future, it’s happening now. Connected devices such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and wearables such as the Apple Watch are blurring those lines as they play an increasingly prominent role in all aspects of our daily lives. This shift of every device becoming a shopping device is the biggest change we’ve seen in payments since the introduction of plastic, and yesterday’s news is a defining moment in the industry’s evolution.

mobile phone paymentsNew solutions like Apple Pay embody the digital transformation taking place around the world and reinforce our commitment to delivering secure, digital payments. Together, with our partners, we’re moving important products and solutions like EMV and mobile payments out of neutral and driving them forward at full speed.

Given this changing landscape, over the past two years, we’ve focused on developing a secure platform to enable consumers to use their cards when, where and how they want. We’ve come up with a solution that supports the new digital ecosystem we live in today, called the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service – also known as “MDES”.

Here are five things you need to know about MDES and the technology we’ve pioneered to enable secure transactions:

1)      What is MDES? MDES helps transform any connected device into a commerce device to make and receive payments. The MDES platform is helping power the new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch to enable secure payments to take place for contactless and in-app payments.

2)      How it works: All MasterCard transactions made through Apple Pay are ready to use industry-standard EMV-level security, and are protected using standards-based payment tokens.  Tokens are card numbers that mobile devices use in place of the card number printed on the plastic.  MDES validates the transaction, maps from the token back to the PAN and forwards it to the issuer for authorization.

3)      Why do we use tokens? Using tokens enable us to deliver a more secure and a better payment experience.  The extra layer of security comes from the fact that we can lock a token to a specific device or channel.  If the token is somehow compromised and a fraudster tries to use it  MDES will block the transaction.  The better customer experience comes from the fact that in the event a device is lost or a plastic card is compromised – we can break the link in MDES between the tokens and the card – and reissue the token or the card – without disrupting the consumer.  It’s truly powerful when you can use advanced technology to deliver more security and remove consumer pain points.

4)      What kind of transactions does MDES support? MDES supports contactless payments and Digital Secure Remote Payments (DSRP).  DSRP is a transaction method where a consumer is able to make in-app purchases using a token. Contactless payments leverage NFC technology for point-of-sale transactions, while DSRP delivers EMV-like transaction for in-app payments.

5)      What’s next for MDES? MDES makes it easy for our issuing partners to enable their MasterCard accounts on devices that consumers want to use to pay on the go.  While MDES launched in the U.S. in 2014, it will expand more broadly to other major markets during the course of 2015, and will be extended to support MasterCard Cloud Based Payments which we announced earlier this year.

Yesterday was a great milestone for delivering digital payments – but the journey continues – keep posted for more developments.