MasterCard rolls out cardholder authentication programme

MasterCard rolls out cardholder authentication programme

MasterCard has begun the global roll-out of SecureCode, its new e-commerce solution for protecting confidential cardholder data over the Internet.

SecureCode, which serves as MasterCard's consumer- and merchant-facing name for all of its e-commerce authentication programmes, is available for both MasterCard and Maestro credit and debit transactions and is now being introduced broadly around the world.

Consumers select their own private SecureCode via the Internet or phone, as directed by their card issuer. The code is managed by the card issuer and is never shared with any merchant. Much like the familiar authentication process required for use of a bank ATM, MasterCard SecureCode requires cardholders to enter their special code in a pop-up window or box on their PC before their online transaction can be completed.

Stephen Orfei, senior vice president, electronic commerce and eB2B, MasterCard International, says: "Our research proves that online shoppers and current non-buyers want extra assurance that their account number will be protected from unauthorised use."

SecureCode uses MasterCard's Universal Cardholder Authentication Field (UCAFTM) to collect and pass cardholder authentication information. Using hidden fields and a merchant plug-in application that is integrated with merchant Web pages, along with authentication information generated by issuing financial institutions, the programme provides explicit evidence of the cardholder's involvement in a transaction.

MasterCard has struck deals with leading payment processors VeriSign, WorldPay and others, in an effort to put the programme within reach of a broad range of online merchants.

Registered merchants stand to benefit from a rule change that shifts liability away from the merchant for chargebacks due to cardholder non-authorisation when SecureCode has been utilised. Chargebacks of this nature currently represent as much as 84% of all electronic commerce chargebacks, says MasterCard.

Avivah Litan, vice president and research director, Gartner Financial Services, comments: "More than half of Web merchants recently surveyed stated that fraud risk and a lack of cardholder authentication are currently the biggest problem with their online payment system. It is clearly in the interest of all parties to lower the level of online fraud."

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