MasterCard, Visa unveil new infosec efforts

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MasterCard, Visa unveil new infosec efforts

Tokens, biometrics to thwart attackers.

Payments giants MasterCard and Visa separately announced plans over the weekend to increase security on mobile and online transactions.

MasterCard will spend $20 million on "cybersecurity-related" enhancements to its platform, including a new "bank safety layer", which works to thwart threats before they are noticed by issuers and payment processors.

The safety net is only designed to intervene and block fraudulent activity in extreme cases, MasterCard said. The solution monitors and blocks specific transactions based on chosen criteria.

It will become available in the US next month. MasterCard has been approached for comment on whether the solution will become available globally.

The payments company will also begin a trial of biometric authentication at First Tech Federal Credit Union in the US.

Customers will be able to verify their transactions using facial and voice recognition and fingerprint matching, MasterCard said.

Rival Visa also announced over the weekend plans to expand its token service - launched last year - to its online Visa Checkout payment service as well as to online retailers.

The service replaces 16-digit account numbers with a randomly generated code that expires after one use.

Visa said more than 110 merchants globally - including Pizza Hut, Gap, Neiman Marcus and Staples - running Visa Checkout would now be able to use the new token service.

American Express began rolling out its own token service - a similar replacement to 16-digit credit card numbers - to international customers earlier this year.

The American Express Token Service is based on the payment tokenisation specification and technical framework published by the organisation that maintains the EMV standard for chip-enabled cards, EMVCo. 

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