MasterCard has outlined plans to end the use of passwords in online payments with a new authentication standard co-developed with Visa, along with exploring the use of biometric identification.
MasterCard claimed that the authentication standard will represent the largest wholesale upgrade to online payment security when it is rolled out.
By co-creating the new protocol with Visa, MasterCard said that it could be adopted in 2015 to replace the current 3D Secure protocol.
The plan is to enable everyone from consumers to banks and merchants to embrace invisible security authentication and reduce the number of prompts for passwords.
MasterCard looks to achieve this by making use of more cardholder data to reduce the need for what it describes as “password interruptions” during online payments.
The company’s plans also include the use of one-time passwords and fingerprint biometrics to address any authentication challenges, rather than forcing customers to remember passwords.
MasterCard has outlined plans to pilot commercial trials for various methods of biometric identification, including face and voice recognition and a wristband that identifies a cardholder by their cardiac rhythm.
MasterCard will also look to evolve its SecureCode programme to support the new protocol.
Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, explained that consumers want to make payments in a simple and secure way, rather than having to choose between the two.
“We want to identify people for who they are, not what they remember. We have too many passwords to remember and this creates extra problems for consumers and businesses,” he added.
The move follows a dramatic rise in the number of transactions being carried out on mobile devices.
MasterCard wants to create a security infrastructure that goes beyond simply supporting online payments for traditional desktop PCs to cover mobile and emerging technologies.
The company’s interest in biometric payment authentication appears to tie in with its partnership with Visa, which is working with Apple to bring Apple Pay contactless payments to Europe.