2018 is The Year Mastercard Will Make Biometrics ‘Impactful’

25. December 2017.

EXCLUSIVE—Biometrics have been a fintech buzzword for a while now, but 2018 is where companies like Mastercard are going to start the real work.

That means focusing on the smaller details and the platforms that will actively bring the technology to consumers, Bob Reany, EVP of identity solutions, Mastercard told Bank Innovation.

“We have to make sure there are some standards on it—how to store this data, how to keep it safe,” Reany said, of Mastercard’s focus on biometrics in the next year. “2018 is really about making [these platforms] impactful and making them scale.”

Reany, who worked on Mastercard ‘Selfie Pay,’ or Mastercard Identity Check, has been “focused on getting rid of passwords for about five years,” he said.

With Mastercard, Reany has helped drive forward solutions such as Selfie Pay as well as the company’s biometric card, which authenticates users via fingerprint using existing POS terminals. For Mastercard, 2018 is a year where the company will not focus so much on the buzzwords of biometrics, but on the work of building out a scalable platform, Reany said.

This includes things like 3D Secure 2.0, a new industry standard the company developed alongside partner payment company EMVCo in the new year. While this might not be the “sexiest” part of biometrics, “this is really important,” Reany said.

“It’s what makes these things really work,” he said.

Mastercard’s future efforts in biometrics will continue to focus on consumer-based needs, Reany said: meaning, the company won’t be exploring technologies or services that will require the customer to radically change how they approach payments or authentication.

“You don’t want to make the consumer change their behavior. Don’t kid yourself, you’re never going to make the consumer do anything differently,” Reany said.

With that in mind, Mastercard is focusing its biometric efforts on facial, fingerprint and iris authentication for its payment services. Other categories of the technology, such as voice, are not a particular focus for the company.

“Voice takes a lot of processing power—it’s great for IoT, or consumers when they’re home,” Reany said. “But when you’re not home, do you really want to say, ‘my voice is my password, verify me?”

To learn more about the latest developments in biometric authentication and online payments, join us on March 5-6, 2018 at the Parc 55 in San Francisco for Bank Innovation 2018. Click here to request an invitation.

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