Mastercard brings Quantum-era through Enhanced Contactless (Ecos)

Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard

Mastercard has announced its plan to apply the latest quantum-resistant technologies to develop the next generation of contactless payments.

According to the firm, the new Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) specifications are an industry-first and will help ensure its dynamic digital landscape evolves. New technologies like quantum computing are introduced to ensure contactless technology is future-proofed for consumers so that they will continue to enjoy the same high levels of security and convenience they do today, in the decades to come.

The drive for faster, convenient, safe and cleaner ways to pay has drastically increased, and this trend is expected to continue to grow. The industry witnessed contactless penetration which represents 41% of in-person purchase transactions globally in the third quarter of 2020, up 30% from a year ago.

For years, Mastercard has been spearheading the transition to contactless payments. Developing specifications like Ecos will support industry standardization efforts and help ensure the entire ecosystem benefits from higher levels of security.

“Contactless is the present and future of in-person payments. 2020 brought with it a rapid acceleration of digitization 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,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard

With Ecos, consumers, merchants and financial institutions will benefit from:

  • Enhanced Convenience – These new specifications is expected to help ensure any device to be a payment device while eliminating the need for a backup swipe or dip of a card.
  • Enhanced Trust – Ecos leverages new, quantum-resistant technology to deliver next-generation algorithms and cryptographic key strengths while keeping the contactless interaction under half a second.
  • Enhanced Privacy – The new specifications deliver advanced protection when account information is shared between the card or digital wallet and the checkout terminal. Ecos builds on the increased requirements to support various privacy regulations.

Compatibility with Ecos and current contactless specifications is simple. Ecos will work behind the scenes and is delivered via a software upgrade with no new hardware or terminals requirement. This investment complements similar investments in tokens, 3-D Secure and Click to Pay, delivering a better consumer and merchant experience.

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