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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Digital Payments Must-Haves: Guiding Principles Serving Common Interests

Flickr Photo: Masterpass in transitTwo years ago, the first tokenized multi-merchant mobile wallets launched. Consumers were able to simply and securely load their Mastercard cards onto the mobile devices they carry around every day. Since then, we’ve helped bring several more digital payment solutions to market, and with the advent of Commerce for Every Device and payments’ expansion into the internet of things, we know that many more are on the way. These solutions come in many flavors, incorporate many different technologies, and, if they develop and scale in a thoughtful way, offer the promise of terrific consumer experiences that will help us all realize the vision of a world beyond cash.

At Mastercard, we’ve spent a lot of time talking with our stakeholders – consumers, merchants, issuers and new entrants in the payment space – and in doing so, have learned a lot in these past two years. We are on the eve of a dramatic expansion in digital payments and as our environment becomes more complex by the day, Mastercard sees a strong need to rally all stakeholders around common principles that honor consumers’ choice and ensure the integrity of the ecosystem – while being mindful of all participants’ interests. Adherence to foundational principles – Accessibility, Transparency, Security and Privacy – will reduce complexity, friction and cost, and allow digital payments to scale in a safe and secure way.  Let’s take each in turn.

Accessibility. Key to the success of digital payment solutions is ubiquity and predictability. Consumers expect and should always be able to access their digitized Mastercard credentials via standard Mastercard interfaces. Similarly, merchants should be able to reach as many cardholders as possible via a single integration. Today, for the physical POS, that standard interface is NFC and, for remote transactions, that standard interface is Masterpass. Over time, as innovation continues, other interfaces will enable new user experiences. We believe that all multi-merchant digital payment solutions that support Mastercard credentials and adhere to these foundational principles should enable those credentials to be accessed via those standard Mastercard interfaces. Our recent announcement with Android Pay, Microsoft Wallet and Samsung Pay brings this idea to life.masterpass-contactless-at-cafe

Transparency. When a consumer uses their physical card to pay at a terminal or enters their card information onto a payment page online, they see their issuer’s brand as well as the Mastercard brand mark. These visual cues assure the consumer they are conducting a genuine Mastercard transaction, and represent the peace of mind and the many rights and benefits offered by their Mastercard and their card issuer (for example, safety and security, Zero Liability, Mastercard ID Theft Protection™, Price Protection, Extended Warranty, and issuer rewards programs). Consumers expect the same transparency when transacting through a digital wallet, and should see the familiar issuer and/or Mastercard marks at every relevant point in the transaction journey (for example, when they choose a card, confirm they want to use their default card, receive a confirmation after completing the transaction, etc.).  Of course not all experiences are the same – our branding guidelines take into account what’s appropriate for each use case.

Security. Security is an obvious and essential requirement to scale digital payments. Tokens are an industry standard technology to secure credentials on devices or in the cloud. Tokens provide EMV-level security that renders payment and transaction information useless if compromised.  In order to ensure that the digital ecosystem grows in a safe and secure way, all digital wallets should support tokenization for both NFC and remote transactions. As we and other industry participants work on further security innovations (for example, biometrics and other forms of authentication), we will continue to look at our requirements to ensure that the ecosystem benefits as technology advances.

Privacy. Mastercard builds privacy and data protection into the fabric of our business and has a longstanding commitment to privacy. We and our partners use personal information for the purposes for which it was provided.

If all industry participants embrace these principles, everyone will benefit. Consumers will use their Mastercard accounts digitally with confidence, both at the physical POS and for secure remote transactions. Merchants will enjoy increased conversions, shorter lines at checkout, more secure transactions, and protections against the misuse of transaction information.  Issuers will remain connected with their cardholders, see reduced fraud, have more confidence to approve a higher percentage of transactions, and displace cash.  Digital wallets will see greater issuer participation, more acceptance, and greater consumer adoption. And together, we’ll pave the way toward making secure and frictionless digital commerce experiences essential to everyone’s every day.