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MasterCard works to improve credit card security through mobile geolocation

MasterCard partners with Syniverse for an opt-in service that can help reduce credit card fraud while decreasing the risk of cards being declined while travelling.

Today, it is fairly easy for cybercriminals abroad to use stolen credit card information to make purchases. At the same time, legitimate transactions from people traveling are declined, because fraud detection systems report that the card isn’t generally used in the new location. According to MasterCard, up to 80 percent of transactions declined abroad are legitimate.

Hoping to address this issue, MasterCard has partnered with Syniverse to utilize mobile geolocation technology. Approximately 75 million mobile phone users travel outside their home country every month, and the service will link a user’s credit card with their mobile phone’s physical location at the time of purchase. In order to make a purchase, a person will need to have both the phone and the card. That is, if John Smith’s credit card and cell phone are both in the same store, it is likely that John Smith is there as well.

For this to work, the users would need a data plan even while abroad, and 70% of mobile users switch their data functions off when they travel. Roaming data can be extremely expensive. A possible solution is pre-paid data packages that customers signed up for the service could purchase directly from their phones on arrival to the destination country.

To start with, the service will be used for car purchases while travelling, but in the future we will surely see a closer connection between payment technology and mobile devices.

MasterCard has already built a global network for financial transactions and Syniverse has already built a global network for operator interconnection. The infrastructure is already available, and utilizing it in a new way can mean great improvements for travelers while making fraudsters’ lives more difficult.

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