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MasterCard Announces Identity Check, Which Will Support Biometric and SMS Authentication by 2016

MasterCard recently announced a new suite of authentication options for the online and mobile channel, branded MasterCard Identity Check, which will use various forms of biometrics and SMS one-time-passwords to authenticate card not present transactions. The service is expected to launch in the U.S. by mid-2016 with a global launch planned for the following year.

MasterCard Identity Check was announced in an early October press release from the card association, which also included results from a recent survey MasterCard commissioned asking consumers about password habits. The survey highlighted the frustrations consumers have with passwords and their inherent security risks, while MasterCard’s new Identity Check service seeks to address these problems.

MasterCard Identity Check is a suite of authentication solutions that leverage new technologies to validate a cardholder’s identity more seamlessly for online and mobile shopping. Consumers will be able to authenticate with one-time-passwords (OTPs) sent via mobile as well as by biometric methods, such as fingerprint verification which can be completed on a smartphone. Biometric voice verification and facial recognition may be used to confirm customer’s as well. Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Security Solutions for MasterCard, stated that MasterCard is in 210 countries worldwide, and “giving a choice of face and finger and voice will cater to various tastes around the world.”

MasterCard’s survey reached 10,000 consumers globally, of which more than 50 percent forget important passwords more than once per week. This led to more than one-third of consumers abandoning an online purchase, and more than half of respondents also indicated they want to passwords to be replaced by something more convenient that still provides the same level of protection and peace of mind.

Consumers may see such an alternative in less than a year, as MasterCard plans to make Identity Check available to card issuers in the U.S. by the middle 2016, with a global roll-out to follow in 2017.

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