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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story
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Mobile Opens New Age of Innovation for Payment Card Services

Alastair Hanlon, Ph.D., is Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, at Syniverse

Occasionally, a technology advancement comes along that can change the game for the way an entire business function is performed. E-commerce software moved selling from brick-and-mortar stores to the Web. Enterprise resource planning systems integrated multiple business department functions into single real-time operations. And now the advancement of mobile technology that has given rise to today’s mobile-first consumer is transforming the level of security and peace of mind for cashless payments.

At Mobile World Congress 2014 MasterCard and Syniverse announced a solution that enables payment transactions only when a user's payment and mobile devices are in the same geo-location, deliver additional security and peace of mind.

At Mobile World Congress MasterCard and Syniverse announced a solution that enables payment transactions only when a user’s payment and mobile devices are in the same geo-location, delivering additional security and peace of mind.

This advancement forms the foundation of a strategic relationship between MasterCard and Syniverse, and it was recently reflected in the announcement of set of expanded services by MasterCard that give cardholders greater control and peace of mind. Our collaboration is yet one more example of a new age of innovation for mobile technology and payment card service capabilities that is considerably strengthening the security of payment card transactions and improving the convenience of making cashless transactions.

Syniverse is particularly suited to play a central role in this innovation. From our position at the center of the mobile ecosystem, we have an unparalleled capability to bridge mobile service providers with other kinds of companies to enable the secure transmission of massive amounts of mobile data. We now connect more than 1,000 operators and nearly 600 other enterprises in almost 200 countries. And our reach provides connections to more than 6 billion mobile devices around the world.

With our capabilities, Syniverse has been working with MasterCard to develop services to enhance peace of mind for MasterCard customers when they travel abroad, and to address a common challenge for cardholders in general. The challenge is that, surprisingly, up to 80 percent of the payment transactions that are declined while people travel abroad are actually legitimate, which creates a big headache for consumers, retailers and financial institutions alike.

The MasterCard and Syniverse solution takes on this challenge by using geolocation at a country level to reduce fraudulent activity and false declines. Our joint solution, following a consumer’s explicit opt-in, uses geolocation data from a consumer’s mobile device to inform their bank when they are in a new country, so the bank will enable transactions that they make abroad.

Consider when a traveler at a department store in a foreign country attempts to buy a coat. At checkout, when the card transaction is initiated, the traveler’s bank detects that a purchase is being attempted outside her home country. Often, this could result in the transaction being declined and the cardholder having an embarrassing customer experience. She may have to pull out another card to complete the transaction or even use cash to pay. Now, however, this kind of “false positive” transaction denial can be avoided when cardholders opt in to a geolocation service, like the MasterCard and Syniverse solution.

The service has been launched in the U.K. and aims to reduce consumers’ frustrations related to having their transactions unnecessarily declined when trying to make purchases in another country, as well as having their payment cards used without their knowledge.

We look forward to continuing to build this capability and other services with MasterCard. The advancement in today’s mobile technology and rise of today’s mobile-empowered consumer have truly opened a new era of innovation for cashless payments. MasterCard and Syniverse see great potential in advanced services, and we expect they will go a long way toward providing greater peace of mind for cardholders.