Mastercard preps contactless technology for quantum era
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Mastercard preps contactless technology for quantum era

Mastercard preps contactless technology for quantum era

Ecos specification will ensure that contactless technology is future-proofed


Mastercard today announced that it is applying quantum technologies to develop its next-generation contactless payments.

The company says the new Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specifications will ensure that contactless technology is future-proofed as new technologies like quantum computing are introduced. This will ensure consumers continue to enjoy the same high levels of security and convenience they do today.

Ecos leverages new, quantum-resistant technology to deliver advanced algorithms and cryptographic key strengths while keeping the contactless interaction under half a second.

The demand for faster, more convenient, safe and now cleaner ways to pay has driven the transition to contactless, and this trend will only continue to grow. In the third quarter of 2020, contactless penetration represented 41 per cent of in-person purchase transactions globally, up 30 per cent from a year ago.

Mastercard has been spearheading the transition to contactless payments for years and developing specifications like Ecos to support industry standardisation efforts and help ensure the entire ecosystem benefits from higher levels of security.

“Contactless is the present and future of in-person payments,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “2020 brought with it a rapid acceleration of digitisation and reinforced the importance of digital solutions – like contactless – to help meet our everyday needs. As the ecosystem continues to evolve, more connected devices and the Internet of Things are going to create more user demand and an even greater need for constant innovation to build next-generation capability, helping to ensure that technology never outpaces trust.”

Read: Digital Economy: UAE consumers to pivot away from cash – report

Over time, Mastercard expects that in-store shopping will become increasingly contactless-only. Ecos will help to eliminate the need for a backup swipe or dip of a card.

As the new specifications are activated over the coming years, consumers and merchants can expect a seamless transition, Mastercard says. Digital wallets, mobile payments, contactless cards and point-of-sale terminals will continue to work as they do today. Compatibility with Ecos and current contactless specifications is straightforward-Ecos works behind the scenes and is delivered via a software upgrade, therefore no new hardware or terminals are required.

This investment complements similar investments by Mastercard in tokens, 3-D Secure and Click to Pay.

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