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How MasterCard and Visa plan to make online payments easier

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MasterCard this week set out how credit card companies plan to make online payments easier for shoppers.

It and Visa are working to create a new authentication standard that looks set to do away with the online password.

The move comes at a time when more shoppers are expected to pay from smartphones and tablet computers: MasterCard cites Juniper Research figures that suggest 30% of all online retail payments will take place over mobile devices by 2018.

By using richer cardholder data, MasterCard says it will be able to reduce the number of password interruptions at the point of sale. Shoppers will be able to identify themselves through one-time passwords or fingerprint biometrics instead of remembering fixed passwords.

The new protocol could be adopted as early as 2015, replacing 3D Secure.

“All of us want a payment experience that is safe as well as simple,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard. “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.”

MasterCard says other steps it’s taking towards a “password-free environment” include turning its SecureCode into a smoother and simpler experience, piloting authentication through face and voice recognition, and trialling a wristband that identifies cardholders from their heartbeat.

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