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MasterCard to spend heavily on biometrics and cyber protection

13 February 2015  |  17221 views  |  0 Security

MasterCard says it will invest an additional $20 million in cyber-security measures this year, including biometric protection for mobile apps, and early warning alerts on potential threat vectors.

This spring, MasterCard will launch Safety Net, an initiative designed to reduce the risk of fraud or cyberattacks before issuers and processors might notice the threat.

The card scheme says Safety Net will provide "an independent layer of security on top of the tools and policies of financial institutions, by monitoring and blocking specific transactions based on selected criteria".

The application uses algorithms to score and monitor different channels, geographies, and business sectors, and is designed to intervene only in extreme cases to block fraudulent activity.

At the cardholder level, MasterCard is working with First Tech Federal Credit Union on a pilot programme that will enable consumers to authenticate and verify their transactions using a combination of unique biometrics, such as facial and voice recognition and fingerprint matching.

News of the collaboration follows last month's announcement by First Tech that it plans to issue all new debit and credit cards using EMV Chip and PIN technology, alongside a rewards programme, member card personalisation and tokenisation.

Chris McWilton, president, North American Markets, MasterCard, says: “While progress is being made with the move to EMV and mobile payments, our continued investments reinforce the efforts we are taking to protect the payments system for cardholders, merchants and issuers."

In September last year, MasterCard claimed a 98% success rate for internal pilot trials of a biometric verification system combining both voice and facial recognition.

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