With new EU regulations coming into place next September 14th, Mastercard is predicting a significant increase in the use of biometric technology to authenticate who is paying.

With regards to card payments, currently just 1-2% per cent of online transactions in Ireland require cardholder authentication, through 3D Secure, to complete a transaction (mostly likely using a password), but this is set to rise to up to 25% or 1 in 4 payments from next autumn.

The European rules aim to tackle online fraud, by increasing the number of transactions subject to two factors of authentication by the payer, known as “Strong Customer Authentication” (SCA).Authentication for online payments and account access will be based on the use of two or more different factors in the future:

  • Something you know, such as a password
  • Something you have, such as a phone, or card
  • Something you are, such as a fingerprint
Phone with fingerprint sensor and face unlock. More phones today have biometrics built in even at cheaper pricepoints which will help.. 

This will mostly impact card payments made over the internet – be it a desktop or mobile purchase. It will also apply to some contactless transactions, as a periodic check to ensure the card is being used by its rightful owner. However, in store chip and pin transactions are already compliant and use two factors.

Although the heightened security measures are designed to protect consumers and retailers from being defrauded, Mastercard is working with banks and the rest of the industry to ensure they are implemented without ‘disrupting’ the convenience of payments for consumers.

 Sonya Geelon, Country Manager, Mastercard in Ireland said: “The use of passwords to authenticate someone is significantly outdated, with people forgetting them and retailers facing abandoned shopping baskets. In payments technology this is something we’re closing in on as we move from cash to card, password to thumbprint, and beyond to innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence. It’s far easier to authenticate with a thumbprint or a selfie, and it’s safer too.”

Mastercard has been leading the advancement of biometric technology in payments for years with a focus on improving both consumer experience and security online and offline.

Identity Check is one such example. This is an authentication solution that enables individuals to use biometric identifiers, such as fingerprint, iris and facial recognition to verify their identity using a mobile device during online shopping and banking activities. This solution dramatically speeds up the digital checkout time, improves security and reduces cart abandonment rates.

With this approach, Mastercard will help banks not only to comply with requirements set out in the new PSD2 legislation, but also to go further in optimising the checkout experience of their customers.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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