Mastercard – We’re Killing Off The Password

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Payments company says the end is nigh for password authentication thanks to updated 3DS 2.0 protocol

Mastercard has teamed up with Visa to create a new security protocol that could mean the end for traditional password authentication when making online payments.

The two payment giants have worked together to help produce a second version of Mastercard’s 3D Secure Protocol – 3DS 2.0. This will provide so-called ‘invisible authentication’, meaning users will see far fewer prompts for passwords.

The company also revealed that it is conducting trials of a wristband which authenticates a cardholder through their unique cardiac rhythm, doing away with the need for password altogether. It is also piloting commercial tests for facial and voice recognition apps to authenticate cardholders.

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Mastercard says the adoption of the new protocol, which it hopes will be by early next year, will be the largest wholesale upgrade to online payment security.

3DS 2.0 utilises richer cardholder data than its predecessor, resulting in far fewer password interruptions at the point of sale.  In the event that an authentication challenge is needed, cardholders will be able to identify themselves with the likes of one-time passwords, or fingerprint biometrics, rather than committing static passwords to memory.

Such a move would follow the company’s news last month that it was launching the world’s first fingerprint-enabled payments card (pictured above), developed with verification specialists Zwipe. The card comes equipped with a special biometric sensor featuring Zwipe’s secure biometric authentication technology, which stores the cardholder’s biometric data, becoming part of the payments approval process .

“All of us want a payment experience that is safe as well as simple, not one or the other,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard. “We want to identify people for who they are, not what they remember. We have too many passwords to remember and this is creates extra problems for consumers and businesses.”

A study carried out by Juniper Research found that by 2018, payments on mobile devices are expected to represent 30 percent of all online retail sales, as consumers begin to use their devices for more purposes.

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