MasterCard has joined the Fido Alliance, which is bidding to replace password-based online authentication with an industry-supported open protocol tied to the actual device used to access services.
Set up by PayPal, Levono and others last year, Fido (Fast Identity Online) aims to make online life easier by doing away with multiple usernames and passwords.
Instead, it is working on a standards-based approach that automatically detects when a Fido-enabled device is present, and offers users the option to replace passwords with authentication methods embedded in the hardware. This could mean biometric-based options such as fingerprints and iris scanning or USB security tokens, smart cards or NFC.
Joining shortly after Google, MasterCard becomes the first card network to sign up to the alliance and takes a place on the board.
Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard, says: "As consumers continue to interact across smarter devices and new technologies beyond the traditional plastic card, we're committed to continue to deliver simpler, better and more secure payment experiences.
"We believe our involvement with the Fido Alliance, as well as other activities across the industry, will help deliver strong security for consumers, merchants and issuers without impacting the consumer buying experience."