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Mastercard: Digital Identity Aligns Security With Consumer Experience

After countless data breaches and hacker attempts on their personal data, consumers are pretty well fed-up with the problem and have taken on a zero-tolerance stance, the recent PYMNTS and NuData Securing eCommerce study said. The report found that consumers take data theft and fraud so seriously that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of all eCommerce shoppers report that even a single instance of personal data theft would cause them to almost never choose to shop with the merchant responsible.

And consumers aren’t wrong to hold such high standards, said Chris Reid, executive vice president of identity solutions at Mastercard, NuData’s parent company. When it comes to data protection and fraud, he told PYMNTS, a zero-tolerance policy is the only sensible stance.

“Every digital interaction should be privacy-enhancing as well as secure and intelligent. When it comes to data, you should be the owner of you,” Reid said. “When it comes to security and privacy practices, we’ve got to have transparency and controls. We should be able to clearly and simply explain how we collect, use and share an individual’s data and give individuals the ability to control that use.”

Because the use of consumer data must be to protect consumers and design a better overall shopping experience that is smoother and safer for them to navigate. Those two values, Reid noted, are mutually supportive of each other, not in conflict.

Smoothing Out The Secure eCommerce Journey

The reality of the world of commerce today is that it is built on a network of digital connections, interactions, and transactions with payments entirely dependent on trust to operate. It’s a multifaceted trust, Reid said, where consumers want to be sure their data is safe and have to trust the process of digital transacting will be smooth and seamless enough to be worth their participation.

The new goal, he said, is making sure that transactions are “more seamless and at every single stage more secure,” even as those transactions are happening over an ever-widening array of channels. It’s a high bar we’ve cleared, Reid said. One enabled by the combined use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and biometrics, which makes consumer behavior easier to holistically see and evaluate.

Those technologies are all behind the scenes and outside the consumer’s view — and are as applicable to conducting the commerce journey as they are at protecting it.

“The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way that we live and work and do business and what we’ve become comfortable with and is intuitive to us,” Reid said. “For example, we’ve got a range of passive biometrics and we are consistently looking at new ones.”

Active biometrics, he noted, are the type most of us are familiar with — a facial or fingerprint scan a user can input. Passive biometrics are systems able to authenticate the user without creating friction into what they’re actually doing by asking them to input information. Instead, monitor the consumer in real time and watch how they use their phone, how they hold it or how they key in information.

That data gathered on the back end and fed into advanced AI can effectively and efficiently authenticate consumers and push them through their commerce transactions with fewer security checks and stutter steps without the consumer ever feeling they are there.

The Rising Bar

With its systems, NuData managed to save $30 billion in fraud over the last 2 years, Reid said. The Mastercard network has developed “the biggest cyber risk assessment capability in the world,” he said, because the firm knows the threats are only going to keep on coming and becoming harder to repel.

Thinking about securing the connected economy in a way that actually enhances the consumer experience, he said, is an exercise in thinking five years ahead and being sure to develop security standards that aren’t only for what is, but for what is coming — with a particular focus on keeping the individual those standards are meant to serve at the center of the development discussion.

“We should be innovative around how we do that to ensure that the individuals benefit from the use, whether that’s better experiences, product services, whether it’s very tangible or it’s behind the scenes,” Reid said. “At the end of the day, we believe companies should use their information to identify the needs and the opportunities to make a positive impact on society as a whole.”

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